The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

THE ALMOND TREE by Michelle Cohen Corasanti

The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Publisher:  Garnet Publishing
Release Date:  September 30, 2012
Pages:  352
About the book:  The Almond Tree is an epic novel, a drama of the proportions of The Kite Runner, but set in Palestine. A beauty..I predict it will become one of the biggest best sellers of the decade. Huffington Post. 

Michelle Cohen Corasanti delivers a universal story of human courage and perseverance in her debut novel, The Almond Tree. Beginning in a small rural village, a young boy named Ichmad comes of age from the 1950’s to 2010 in a journey of enlightenment and understanding of the climate that surrounds him.
The Almond Tree is an inspirational story of unfathomable pain and an incredible perseverance. The Almond Tree humanizes a culture and brings characters from a distant land to life, with a family united by love but divided by their personal beliefs. From Ichmad’s staunchly traditional and at times overbearing mother, to his father who believes in the power of education, the crux of the family’s story lies in the growing dispute between two brothers who choose very different paths in order to create a new future.
The Almond Tree brings humanity and clarity to the Arab-Israeli conflict and reveals themes of redemption and family sacrifice. Michelle Cohen Corasanti’s personal experience of living in Israel for seven years while attending high school and obtaining her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern studies from the Hebrew University lends her the perspective, insight and ability to shed new light on a controversial history. The Almond Tree showcases the resilience of the human spirit and brings forth a message of the necessity of education and a plan for peace in the conflict.

Wanda's Review:  I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads - First Reads winner.

This is a beautifully written story that will leave no reader untouched - a story that will devour you from the beginning. 

1950's - An Israeli-occupied Palestinian village. A very graphic and devastating scene begins the story as Amal, a small, energetic child, loses her life when she leaves the safety of her home to chase a butterfly, and wanders into the devil's field. This is the story of Ichmad, a Palestinian boy, and his family, facing the horrors and fears during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Ichmad, a very brilliant boy, idolized Albert Einstein. His father, Baba, was so proud of him. Ichmad was a reader and a thinker. His family was evicted from their home and relocated to a mud-brick hut that was smaller than a chicken coop. The family was once very rich, but not anymore. All hope was gone as they endured so much pain and hardship with many shocking events occurring throughout the story. 

Abbas, a year younger than Ichmad, was the brother with the charisma. He was very athletic, but finding it very hard to grow up in Ichmad's shadow. The almond tree overlooked the village and Abbas and Ichmad spent many hours in the tree looking at the moshav, watching the Jews through a telescope. The story unfolds throughout many years as Ichmad's family lives through much sorrow and devastation. Ichmad eventually becomes a brilliant scientist, as the story continues through several eras, and his work becomes his salvation. 

The characters are filled with depth and passion and the author's descriptive writing brings the period details to life. This is a story of family loyalty, love and sacrifice. Brilliant - poignant - achingly sad. I highly recommend with a 5 star rating.
Author:  MICHELLE COHEN CORASANTI has a BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a MA from Harvard University, both in Middle Eastern Studies. She is, also, a lawyer trained in international and human rights law. 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.
Image of Michelle Cohen Corasanti