You read some books and enjoy them. You read some books and relate to them.
Some books make you feel happy. Some books make you feel sad.
Some books reach out to your heart and leave a mark which you can never forget.
This is one such book.
The Almond Tree is the debut novel of Michelle Cohen Corasanti and it takes us through the life of Ahmed Hamid and his family. It is set in the backdrop of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. This is not the usual rags to the riches story, but it gives a very practical insight to the struggles faced by the families during the troubled times. What’s more interesting is that the book is written by a Jewish-American author who narrates the story from a Palestinian’s perspective.
When Ahmed Hamid was young, his family was forced to leave their palatial home. Just when they settle into their new life and their hardships, his father is imprisoned. Ahmed is left with no choice but to drop out of school and take care of his family comprising of his Mother, his sister Nadia, his immediate younger brother Abbas and two other younger brothers Hani and Fadi. Having witnessed the death of his two younger sisters Amal and Saira, he is determined to provide a living for his family and takes up menial jobs. Fast forward a few years, his tutor Mohammad coaxes him into taking a scholarship examination which would get him to the Hebrew University.