- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Garnet Publishing Ltd (30 Sept. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1859643299
- ISBN-13: 978-1859643297
- Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Almond Tree Paperback – 30 Sep 2012
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...an epic drama of the proportions of The Kite Runner, but set in Palestine. A story that grabs you from the first page and makes your heart go out to the Palestinians without pointing fingers at anyone. This novel is not a political lecture, but a gripping and compassionate work of fiction Peace will not result from any political negotiation table, neither in Madrid, nor Oslo. The miracle is happening thanks to a work of fiction; a novel (The Almond Tree) --Huffington Post, Spanish TV and Radio Host Guillermo Fesser
Corasanti's tale of resilience, hope and forgiveness is a must-read both for those who are stumbling through the Israeli-Palestinian minefield for the first time, and others who know its sorrows all too well. --Washington Report on the Middle East
If you enjoyed The Kite Runner or In the Shadow of the Banyan, you will want to read The Almond Tree --Carol Fitzgerald, co-Founder/President of The Book Report Network
About the Author
Michelle Cohen Corasanti is a former lawyer, trained in international human rights law. Her knowledge of the Israeli - Palestinian struggle comes from seven years of living in Israel, where she witnessed at first hand the struggles of the Palestinians, and heard their stories of one - room mud houses with no electricity, fathers imprisoned for decades, illiterate mothers unable to provide for their children, and small boys giving up school for manual labour. She married her Arab - Israeli husband in a traditional village wedding, and it was his story - of an incredible intelligence which took him out of the Middle East - that sparked her imagination for The Almond Tree.
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel has been awarded five stars on amazon.com and given laudatory reviews, but this is the first review on amazon.co.uk. I think the book is more likely to appeal to a US than a British readership, though I would still recommend British readers to try it out and would be interested to know what they think of it.
Though the author is an American Jewish woman, the novel is narrated in the first person by an Israeli Palestinian man in his sixties, Ichmad Hamid, who tells us the story of his life from his boyhood. One of Corasanti's main aims is to give a human face to the statistics about killings of children, house demolitions, and the many other human rights abuses suffered by the Palestinians. In doing this she is very much to be commended. Evidently this human story has affected many people who previously had only considered the Israeli Jewish point of view - people such as Les Edgerton, a tutor on one of the 21 writing courses she attended in the course of working on this novel (again, going on 21 writing courses seems very American and not very British). Edgerton has written that, as a Christian Zionist, he initially disagreed entirely with the narrative, but came to realise that "there are always two sides to a question".
To sum up the plot very briefly: Ichmad's family go through terrible experiences - among other disasters, two baby sisters are killed, the family home is demolished and their father is wrongly imprisoned. Their mother is implacably opposed to Israeli Jews as a result of this suffering. In contrast, their father is a saintly figure who refuses to hate his oppressors, only saying "if they only could realise that we're all the same".Read more ›
The story concerns Ichmad Hamid, a Palestinian born at the same time as the State of Israel, the adversity of his life and how he overcomes every obstacle the occupying forces put in his way, going from life in a refugee tent to incredible career success.
I am the widow of a Palestinian so I tend to approach such stories with a degree of cynicism but this one knocked every misgiving I had out of the water. It has to be made into a movie! It has to be allowed to play its part in changing the situation in the Middle East. I recommend this book to everyone who's mystified about what's going on there and wants to learn about the history of the region.
The Almond Tree is the moving and often heart-breaking story of Ichmad Hamid, a poor Palestinian boy living under the Israeli occupation of his homeland, who manages to escape his family's poverty by means of his mathematical genius. His rise to fame and wealth could seem a little far-fetched but is in fact based on a real life person, whom Corasanti knows well.
But the road to success is long and painful, and the full degradations and humiliations of Palestinian life are devastatingly documented. Ichmad chooses a path of assimilation and cooperation, whereas his brother refuses to compromise and chooses the path of active resistance. Both storylines are equally engrossing and perceptively and accurately related.
From a purely literary perspective, I have a few reservations about the novel. Some of the characters are a little one-dimensional, and Ichmad's family sometimes seem just a vehicle to express the whole gamut of human rights abuses and personal tragedies that the Palestinian people as a whole suffer.Read more ›
Beginning in 1955, the novel starts with one of the most powerful opening chapters of any book I have read. Fortunately not all the following chapters are as harrowing, or I do not think I could have read it. Ichmad's family is close-knit, with a father who advocates love in the face of hardship and holds his family together with wisdom. But the hardships that they face would test any growing boys and their reactions to events differ.
The almond tree of the title became the centre of Ichmad's family's life after they had been evicted from their land to make space for the incoming Israeli population. it provided them with shelter, a source of food and income, and a view-point from which to watch their former land, now under Israeli occupation.
It is remarkable that the author is in fact Jewish, rather than Palestinian, as I had expected. She felt she could reach the largest number of people with her message by becoming a writer and I hope this book will become as well known as The Kite Runner and she may achieve her aim.
This book was provided free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really gripping historical novel with an optimistic if rather unrealistic ending. Makes you want to learn more about the current situation in Israel and Palestine.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
There is no doubt in my opinion that Michelle Cohen Corasanti is one of today's greatest novelists as well as a socio-political commentators. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Cristina Sweeney
A touching emotional story which feels so real. Lots of tragedy but some happiness and success in the face of terrible adversity. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Mrs Sarah Walker
Could also me titlled rich man poor man.
A good opening with an interesting an empathetic twelve year old protagonist. Read more
When I started reading the book I almost stopped reading and put the book away. The depth of despair and human pain were too much to take in. Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2014 by dancer
I enjoyed the beginning of this book. However I did feel towards the end that it was too optimistic and a bit glitzy eg Jew and a Palestinian sharing Nobel Prize. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2014 by Mrs Susan J Brown