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The Almond Tree Paperback – October 11, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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From Kirkus Reviews
Corasanti’s accomplished debut novel offers a humanistic look into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…Sensitive, moving…a complex novel as necessary as ever.
Michelle Corasanti's profound and finely crafted debut novel tells the story of one man, Ichmad Hamid, from his humble beginnings as a scared and helpless child in an occupied village through to his inspirational rise to power and influence. This intimate tale of love and loss and awareness shines a greater understanding of the personal toll of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Marcy Dermansky author, Bad Marie
…beautifully written and exhibits an inherent knowledge of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Gaza. Corasanti's elaboration of history and fiction has created a touching narration which ensnares the reader from the first chapter. Middle East Monitor.
Having just finished reading The Almond Tree by new author Michelle Cohen Corasanti, I can honestly state that it is one of the most riveting books I have read during the past several months. Corasanti takes a realistic premise and builds an interesting and highly believable story that only gets better as the pages fly by. While The Almond Tree is a fictional tale, much of it is based on the truth of what is today's world, and as such there is also an important message located within. I highly recommend this book. --Charline Ratcliff at Rebecca's Reads
With the onset of adulthood, one already must cope with so much. "The Almond Tree" follows the struggles of young Ichmad Hamid as his family is lose to strife, imprisonment, and everything they hold dear. The twelve year old learns it may be on him to use his limited talents to help his family and bring back something of a life. "The Almond Tree" is a strong addition to coming of age fiction collections, highly recommended. The Midwest Book Review. If this is too long, you can start with "The Almond Tree" is a strong addition until the end. – Helen Dumount MBR Bookwatch January 2013 issue.
I predict (The Almond Tree) will become one of the biggest bestsellers of the decade…an epic drama of the proportions of The Kite Runner… A story that grabs you from the first page…This novel is not a political lecture, but a gripping and compassionate work of fiction. 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
… a Kite-Runner-like epic of Palestinian life… makes you aware of what it’s like to exist under Israeli rule…told in a manner that strongly resembles the voice and narrative used by Khaled Hosseini in his popular novel, The Kite Runner…A Palestinian Tale Told by a Jewish American…Although possibly difficult for Israelis and Jews everywhere to read, The Almond Tree should be required reading for all as when there is understanding of the other side, peace can be achieved. The Times of Israel
Top customer reviews
Ichmad and his brother, Abbas, worked in a Jewish settlement as building laborers in order to support the family. Their wages helped to keep the family above water for basics. The description of their living and working conditions boggles the imagination. Abbas was pushed off the building site by an Israeli worker and this left him crippled for the rest of his life and very bitter towards Israelis.
Apparently Ichmad was a brilliant pupil but nothing much is written about that aspect of his life. Mohammed, his tutor, helped him with his lessons even though he was absent from school because he had to support his family. Ichmad won a scholarship to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as he had a great aptitude for science. How this is possible with minimum of schooling and under the conditions he lived and worked adds a touch of surrealism to the novel.
This book is well written and I would recommend reading this novel with an open mind. The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict is the background to this novel and it does raise many questions. It is also a very emotional issue for both Arabs and Jews that live in Israel. However, there is a slight bias in that there is more empathy towards Palestinian suffering, but on the other hand I felt that this bias had been overcome largely but not entirely by the fact that Ichmad achieved what he did due to a sympathetic Israeli, Professor Menachem Sharon, with whom he worked and studied. Initially this professor was hostile towards Ichmad but eventually they overcame their differences and became close friends as well as colleagues in their research work together.
Nevertheless, the subject matter does make for a good novel as it holds one’s interest throughout and it is definitely a worthwhile read. It is not a sensational novel or cliff hanger. There is no doubt that the writer is talented and this is her first book.
Following the life of a Palestinian boy whose mathematical genius opens opportunities that would otherwise be denied him, The Almond Tree describes the changes that resulted from the formation of the nation of Israel from the Palestinian point of view. When his father is unjustly imprisoned for fourteen years, Ichmad Hamid is forced to become the provider for his family. It is only through the insistence of his teacher that he continues studying after working all day; Teacher Mohammed also alerts him to a mathematics competition that offers a scholarship to Hebrew University, a competition that Ichmad wins. Despite the pressing needs of his family, Ichmad's father persuades him to accept, knowing that the opportunity will lead to better things for all of them.
What follows is a story of awakening to the possibilities of co-existence between enemies, and the costs that our choices can carry. For while Ichmad goes on to form valuable friendships with his fellow students and faculty, all of whom are Jewish, a rift develops between him and his brother, Abbas, who is unable to overlook the injustices done to their family.
I found this book to be both uplifting and, at times, depressing. Uplifting, because the story presented is very possible in the real world, despite the difficulties that exist between Israelis and Palestinians. Depressing, due to the graphic descriptions of living conditions of the Palestinians in parts of Israel.
Michelle Cohen Corasanti has produced a very impressive debut novel, one in which the characters are highly developed, the plot is riveting, and the writing is excellent. With a vision of what can be accomplished when fear and mistrust are put aside, she has issued a challenge to all who would judge based on stereotypes rather than character. I look forward to more from this very talented author
Israel and Palestine is an age old saga of hatred. This book is an ode of peace offering in strife ridden country. A beacon of hope that there is something to look forward to in a desolate land ripped apart by mutual distrust - an almond tree in full bloom, with strong and sturdy olive trees beside it.
The style of writing is free flowing and impeccable. Hats off to Michelle.
With the sincerest hope that there will be peace in Gaza and that the children there will get an opportunity for better education.