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Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree [Hardcover]

Tariq Ali
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 May 1992
Set in Granada in the late 15th century, this novel brings to life the turbulent period in Spain following 700 years of Muslim rule, and explodes conventional ideas about 1492. The author also wrote the plays "Moscow Gold", "Iranian Nights" and the novel "Redemption".


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (7 May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701139447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701139445
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,678,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"Tariq Ali tells us the story of the aftermath of the fall of Granada by narrating a family sage of those who tried to survive after the collapse of their world. Particularly deft at evoking what life must have been like for those doomed inhabitants, besieged on all sides by intolerant Christendom. This is a novel that have something to say, and says it well." -- Guardian "Tariq Ali captures the humanity and splendour of Muslim Spain ... an enthralling story, unravelled with thrift and verve. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is quizzical as well as honest, informative as well as enjoyable, real history as well as fiction ... a book to be relished and devoured." -- Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics, as well as plays for both stage and screen. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is the first in a quartet of novels that trace the history of Islam. It has been translated into over a dozen languages and was awarded the Archbishop San Clemente del Insituto Rosalia de Castro Prize for the Best Foreign Language Fiction published in Spain in 1994. The other novels in this series, The Book of Saladin and The Stone Woman, are also available from Verso. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story simply written 28 Jan 2006
Format:Paperback
This tale of a muslim family facing the 'reconquest' of Spain by the Christian rulers is a compelling read that combines a number of threads, as we follow the idealistic oldest son, the hero-worshipping younger son, and a number of particularly strong female characters, in their reactions to the threat of forced conversions.
The reactions vary, and are treated without judgement, in a style that is surprisingly plain and without hyperbole. In some ways it would be good to have a more vivid picture of this little-described age of Moorish Spain, but the clarity leaves the story to force itself through without being muddied. An enjoyable story that makes you seek out the sequels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject, should have been longer 26 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
I heard about this book earlier this year (2010) when Mr Ali was awarded the Granadillo award in my natal Granada. I listened to his speech and was curious about his book, so I want and bought it.

It clearly shows that Mr Ali was in Granada while writing this book. The geographic and historical places are accurately described and positioned.

The book tells the story of a muslim family in the reconquered Granada, faced with the three possibilites every muslim faced at the time: convert to christianism, leave the peninsula or die fighting. Different members of the family choose different paths and the drama is served. As a background to the dilemma they face, there are dark secrets in the family that we discover as we read. However, all this only takes place over 240 pages. The characters lack depth and events, family deaths and the unravelling of hidden secrets happen too quickly.

It is also worth mentioning that the author has his own agenda here, as it is his right given that it is his book. The one page epilgue bears no relationship to the whole story. It almost seems like a cheap jab at the cruelties commited by the Conquistadores in America.

To my mind, the book would have benefitted greatly by a more extended portrayal of characters and emotions. Granada post the reconquest was a unique melting pot of cultures at the hub of events that would shape Europe in the coming centuries, which is why I think the reader deserves more.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A book which I can only describe as very human - the tale about a family's survival and dilemmas in Moorish Spain goes far beyond that. It is a tale of love and pain, of discovery and strength, of deception and honour. The book is beautifully written with humour and style, but always with the foreboding of a heartbreaking tragedy. I would recommend it very highly and am about to embark on the second book in the series!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written and balanced historical novel. 15 Oct 2005
By Tony
Format:Paperback
Having just read Kagen's Spanish Inquisition, it was a joy to read this sensitive story of a noble Spanish muslim family embroiled in the final conquest of Granada. Tariq Ali writes beautifuly and this story has everything, love, wisdom, humour, poetry and tragedy. I was impressed how closely the story follows the known events and characters of the time. Tariq Ali puts human faces to this calamatous period of Spanish history through his very well drawn characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid 14 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback
Splendind!! Tariq Ali a very gifted and distinguished writer re-creates the lost Islamic Spain. He has given to the world what the Spanish inquisition has taken away from us. You almost feel for the characters of the book about the troublesome times they had to endure without any help from anywhere and were left to fend for themselves. I recommend this very highly.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written and balanced historical novel. 15 Oct 2005
By Tony
Format:Paperback
Having just read Kagen's Spanish Inquisitiion it was a joy to read this sensitive story of a noble Spanish muslim family embroiled in the final conquest of Granada. Tariq Ali writes beautifuly and this story has everything, love, wisdom, humour, poetry and tragedy. I was impressed how closely the story follows the known events and characters of the time. Tariq Ali puts human faces to this calamatous period of Spanish history through his well drawn characters.
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