Monday, December 23, 2013

The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Title: The Almond Tree
Author : Michelle Cohen Corasanti 

Publisher : Fingerprint Publishing (Prakash Book)
Genre : Historical Fiction
ISBN : 9788172344870 
Number of Pages : 352

It is one of the rarest of rare stories that tell you of the triumph of good over evil. Not many stories I have read look into very personal accounts of the protagonist,this being an exception. This was too true to be a fiction!
The story takes us to the mid nineteen fifty and talks of Ahmed and his family and their travails in a war hit Palestine.
The story begins with the protagonist's little sister being torn apart by a landmine. What is heart wrenching is they can't even give her a respectable burial that very night owing to the hostility imposed by the curfew.
The heart rending moments from the story make you think twice about how power and hatred can shred this beautiful world into shambles.
The brutal death of his sisters, the holding of Sara's body by his only living sister and mother to keep the maggots at bay, the blowing up of their house charring it to a rubble, confiscation of their property by the Israelites and their life in the tent, their job at the construction site and the slaughterhouse, the inhuman sighting at the detention centre, the disrespectful barbarism of the Israeli officials towards Ahmed and Abbas when they go to meet their father, Abbas and his accident and the untimely death of Nora are agonizing moments that made my heart cringe.

The writer very beautifully paints a picturesque description of Ahmed's house and the village market while using gory images to describe the slaughterhouse and construction site telling of her ability to use vivid imagery in her writing. The only rainbow in the story is the narration of Ahmed's days in the university and his love life. The two women he falls in love with are the exact opposite of the woman he stays married to. Their lives were modern and independent as against Yasmine whose virginity test results were sought after their first night, comparing and contrasting the two worlds these women belonged to.
I didn't like the idea of the story revolving around Ahmed and Ahmed only. Whatever he saw and felt makes for the story and it is his heroism that is talked about in the story. I wonder why was Ahmed the only person who went hunting for Abbas when he went missing and how could everyone suddenly forget Nora's death and get on with life. Maybe a few more characters could have spoken of their experiences and emotions.
There were a few very minor punctuation and grammar errors as well which of course didn't take the sheen off the story.
I give 4 points out of 5, 1/2 a point goes for the punctuation and grammar errors and 1/2 for the drags I felt in a few places.

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