Title: The Almond Tree
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Michelle Cohen Corasanti
In One Word: Superb!
“I had no idea words could have so much power and beauty.”
I smiled and cried while reading. I was left speechless when I finished the book. Pondering over every sentence I read, every bit of emotions I felt, I was over-whelmed how beautifully sad a novel can be.
The Almond Tree is a heart-wrenching, self-narrative story of a Palestinian kid, Ichmad Mahmud, his family and their struggles.
It is the story of unjust occupation.
It is the story of extremism on both sides.
It is the story of never giving up.
It is the story of two lovers.
It is the story of love vs hate.
Ichmad Mahmud is a 12 year old Palestinian who lives in a village with his parents and siblings. He is a genius kid with unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He loves solving math and physics problems.
One day, his younger sister Amal fell prey to the field mine near their house and was blown up into pieces. To bury Amal, they had to wait for the permit from Israeli soldiers and for the curfew to end. So- they spent the whole night with her dead body at home, comforting her that she is finally free.
After few days of Amal’s death, the Israeli soldiers took their home, their orange groves, relocating them to a small house on the hill. Nearby their new house, there stood an Almond Tree. After his father was sacked to jail, he was desperate to share the boiling agony in his heart, he be-friended the Almond Tree.
“I said to the almond tree, “Friend, speak to me of God, and the Almond Tree blossomed.”
The Almond Tree became the companion of his sorrows, happiness and loneliness. He would climb and sit on it, looking over his old house and orange groves with his hand-made telescope. The Almond Tree stood there tall, witnessing everything silently. How his new house was demolished, his tent set on fire and burnt down to ashes many times. How he fell in love with an Israeli Jew.
This novel has lows and highs of gripping emotions. It shows you how the extremes on both sides affect the peace in the area. Whose fault is it when schools are bombed, depriving them of education and blissful childhood. With lack of education and “hope”, they have no where to go and no path to choose except that of destruction, destruction of self and destruction of others.
Written by an Israeli Jew, this novel is unbiased and gives the glimpse of negatives and positives of both sides.
It is a must read for those who love intriguing and heart-touching stories. I have read this book for once and I would like to read it again but I don’t find enough courage in myself to go through the pain of 10 and 12 year old souls again.
Ending my review with a quote from The Almond Tree:
“You can not go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending.”