The Almond Tree written by Michelle Cohen Corasanti is a story of a character larger than life itself. It is a journey comprising of despair, hunger, fear, death, life, joy, happiness, courage, sacrifice and determination. These words are less to explain what you will experience in your heart and mind while reading this book. Credit goes to the author for conceptualizing and scripting this beautiful story so brilliantly.
Story of The Almond Tree is about a 12 years old child born in one of the Palestinian families living like slaves in a country that was once their own -Israel. Under these dire conditions members of these families were not allowed to go for a respectable job, for studies, for a well built house, for any good opportunities in their life. They could only opt for the least living standards, lowest possible work, no possibilities of growth and then their each and every move is under the supervision of army. Ahmed under such painful and stressful conditions had to see a lot during his childhood – death of his siblings due to various unwanted situations, getting his father jailed for no crime, getting debarred form their house and ultimately moving from bad to worse situation in life. But one symbolic companion that kept inspiring, motivating and helping Ahmed is an almond tree that is grown outside his house.
An Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti is journey of Ahmed from his childhood to his sixties and achieving and living an extraordinary life due to his determination and inner power. At some juncture the story reminded me of the movie A Beautiful Mind maybe because of the excellence with which both – the movie and this book – have been conceptualized, or maybe because of certain resemblances in the two. The story starts in the year 1955 and goes up to 2009 during which Ahmed Hamid went through various stages encountering various inspiring characters – like his father, his childhood teacher, his first love, his professor (who first was totally against Palestinians/ Jews, being an Israeli himself); and more than those the characters who tried to downtrend/ demean him from time to time.
There are some excellent quotes in this book that the readers would love to go through on pages – 68, 72, 123, 127, 129, 240, 247, 298. There was a small proofreading mistake on page 252 where cheeks was mentioned as checks.
I would give this book 5 out of 5 and would recommend it to readers interested in historical fiction, classical fiction, war fiction, general fiction.