Welcome to Ask the Author.
I’m Michelle Cohen Corasanti, the author of The Almond Tree, and this area is an opportunity for readers to ask me questions and have a discussion about the book.
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In your novel you have driven a point that all these conflicts are politically driven, since the time you have started evaluating this issue or doing research on this, have you seen a positive perception change both at societal and political level?
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The Almond Tree is your debut novel, but it is creating right noise all over, do you think that your novel will bring some change in the outlook of people towards Israel-Palestine conflict?
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How do you think your education and your experience in Israel helped shape up this book? Do you think that this book would have born anyway without either one or both of them?
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From the conception of an idea to marketing a book, it is a long process. Which part did you enjoy the most and what was the most difficult phase for you?
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While reading about a twelve year old boy and seeing his world through his innocent eyes I felt somewhat conflicted. I was sad, angry yet hopeful. What was it like for you to write about Young Ahmed?
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India has become host to a number of literary festivals. Do you plan to come to India anytime soon for your book launch or a session, perhaps?
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Do you think a ‘two-state solution’ is only means to resolve the conflict? Would creation of independent states restore peace?
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Was it a deliberate attempt on the author’s part to represent the two brothers Ahmed and Abbas in stark contrast in terms of their political ideas? Was it a case of the ‘Good’ Palestinian (Ahmed- the math prodigy who wins the Nobel) vs the ‘Bad’ Palestinian (Abbas- the freedom fighter and lives in abject poverty)? Ahmed’s easy acceptance of the oppressor’s society is hailed but Abbas’ rejection to be part of the same is criticized. Why?
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Significance of the almond tree in the book: it’s witness to the atrocities but stands mute and silent. Could silence be ever an answer to violence?
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Based on some of the reviews online, I realised that a white woman’s perspective on freedom struggles and resistance movements (in this case the Israeli-Palestine conflict) is scrutinised sharply to an extent of dismissing it as a skewed viewpoint, a portrayal, which is away from the truth. Why do you think it happens, is it a fair assessment in so far your book is concerned? Susan Abulhawa, for instance, says it’s “neoliberal white supremacy cloaked in sympathy and pseudo-solidarity” (I have read your response to her as well) Do you feel a white woman’s voice lacks ‘empathy’?
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