Name: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
Genre: Fiction Language: English Pages: 348
Published: 2012 [Yet to publish in India]
My Rating: ★★★★★
Started: 26th July 2013 Completed: 30th July, 2013
Total Reading Hour: 40-60 Hrs
..Spellbinding… Brilliant.. Mind-blowing… Remarkable…
Excerpt from Book:
Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with knowing that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in fear of losing their homes, 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 loss, and discovers a new hope for the future.
Almond Tree is a very sensational and page turner novel about Palestinian – Ichmad and his family. Story follows Ichmad’s life from his childhood to his sixties. Ichamd’s family lives in abject poverty and the one catastrophe after the other befalls them, including Ichamad’s father imprisonment, the death and severe injury of several of the siblings of Ichmad.
Despite problems with Jews, Ichmad works with them and earn something for his family in absent of his Baba. After so many ups and downs, He overcame hate and adversity. Apart from Ichmad, I love 4 more characters which are beautifully crafted.
Abu Ichmad (Ichmad’s Baba)- I loved all conversations between Ichamd and his Baba. I loved the ways his Baba thought every situation in different way and helped to develop Ichmad’s thought process.
Mohammad – (Ichamd’s teacher) – Because of Teacher Mohammad’s intervention, Ichamd went to college and overcame adversity in long way.
Professor Sharon – (Ichmad’s professor )- Professor Sharon who hated him at first because he is Jews and Ichmad is Palestine but later he became Ichmad’s best friend and helped him in many ways.
Abbas Hamid– (Ichmad’s brother) – Despite of staying together, Ichmad’s and Abbas’s thinking process differ – exactly opposite to each other. Difference in thinking process leads them in different paths and in their late sixties, when they discussed their views with reasons, you feel wow. Author written view of 2 brothers in very neutral and amazing way.
Some beautiful lines from novel:
- A man never quiets until it is over
- A man who need fire will hold it in his hand (in context of maths)
- A man is nothing unless he stands up for his family
- Don’t allow guilt to enter your heart, because it’s a disease, like cancer, that’ll eat away at you until there’s nothing left.
- Courage was not absence of fear: it was the absence of selfishness; putting someone else’s interest before one’s own
- Good things make choosing difficult. Bad things leave no choice
- Before you judge a person, try to imagine how you would feel if the same things had happened to you
- Genius is born, not taught
- You cannot go back and make a new start, but you can start now and make a new ending
- Many great men can attribute their success to the fact that they didn’t have the advantages other men had
- He who aims too high will get a sore neck
- Success is not about never falling, but about rising every time you fall
- If one wants to achieve something great, he and is loved ones must make sacrifices
- People hate out of fear and ignorance. If they could just get to know the people they hate, and focus on their common interests, they could overcome that hatred
- Only if one dares to fail can one achieve something great
- If we avenge their action, we’ll be even with them, but if we forgive them we’ll be ahead
- Hatred is self-punishment
- Success in life isn’t about the number of failures we think we have, but about how we react to those failures
- Love transcends the barriers set up by humans
- Great marriage doesn’t come from merely finding the right person, but by also being the right person
- the only way to overcome the complexities of human emotions is to delve into science and try to explain the unexplained
- If you are neutral in situation of injustice, you have chose the side of the oppressor
Peace brings security. Security doesn’t bring peace
- If you want to experience peace, provide it for another, and if you want to feel safe, cause another to feel safe
- life isn’t about what happens to you, but about how you choose to react to it. Education was my way out;
- One people can’t achieve security at the expense of another
It is a rare novel which makes you cry and realize the sufferings of other people in different parts of the world whose sufferings can not really be compared with our own. Author has truly shown us how to set aside our prejudices and have compassion for our fellowmen despite race or religion.
This novel illustrated life hardship, father-son relationship, brotherhood, love story (of course Ichmad’s love story), mathematics, science (Ohh yah, Author described many mathematical algorithm and science projects perfectly) and difference between Jews/Israelis & Palestinians.
Note: I received an e-copy of book from author and I am very much thankful to Michelle to share such a beautiful novel. This book is in my favorite list.
About Author: 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 at http://thealmondtreebook.com/author/
Zazen is a deep unoccupiedness – not doing anything outwardly, not doing anything inwardly. It is not even meditation because when you meditate you are making some sort of effort, you are trying to do something: chanting a mantra, remembering God, or even remembering yourself. But these efforts create ripples, these efforts create vibrations and your sitting becomes corrupted. Then your sitting is not innocent. Zazen means: sit, and just sit, nothing else.
– Osho (mySamasati)