Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in constant fear of losing their homes, their jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.
On Ichmad's twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality.
With his father imprisoned, his family's home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence, and discover a new hope for the future.
The Almond Tree is the debut novel of Michelle Cohen Coransanti and was published by Garnet Publishing in September 2012.
Michelle Cohen Coransanti has drawn upon her own personal experiences to produce this novel and pulls no punches with her descriptive and often very emotive writing style. The Palestinian-Isreali conflict is a complex, and often confusing situation, and I'll admit that I had very little knowledge of their war before embarking upon this story. At times, this was a disadvantage to me, although the author does explain the context of many of the situations during the novel.
Fictional stories that are based upon factual events can often be very one-sided, and in this case, the reader is shown the conflicts and struggles from the Palestinian point of view.
This is an important story, and is well-written with the author's passion shining through on every page. She does not shy away from detailing atrocities that happen in this part of the world, but she has also created a fine character in young Ichmad, who grows and matures throughout the story.
This is not an easy read by any means, but it is an important read in terms of the themes of compassion and forgiveness shown by the lead character, Ichmad.
My thanks go to the author, Michelle Cohen Corasanti for sending a copy for review.
Michelle Cohen Corasanti has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies. She also holds a law degree. A Jewish American, she has lived in France, Spain, Egypt and England, and spent seven years living in Israel. She currently lives in New York with her family. The Almond Tree is her first novel.
More information about The Almond Tree and Michelle Cohen Corasanti can be found on her website ~ www.thealmondtreebook.com. On Facebook and on Twitter