In the Orchard, the Swallows

In the Orchard, the Swallows

Paperback - 2012
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In the foothills of a mountain range in northern Pakistan is a beautiful orchard. Swallows wheel and dive silently over the branches, and the scent of jasmine threads through the air. Pomegranates hang heavy, their skins darkening to a deep crimson. Neglected now, the trees are beginning to grow wild, their fruit left to spoil on the branches. Many miles away, a frail young man is flung out of prison gates. Looking up, scanning the horizon for swallows in flight, he stumbles and collapses in the roadside dust. His ravaged body tells the story of fifteen years of brutality. Just one image has held and sustained him through the dark times - the thought of the young girl who had left him dumbstruck with wonder all those years ago, whose eyes were lit up with life.A tale of tenderness in the face of great and corrupt power, In The Orchard, The Swallows is a heartbreaking novel written in prose of exquisite stillness and beauty.
Publisher: Toronto : Anansi International, 2012.
ISBN: 9781770892101
Characteristics: 139 pages ;,22 cm.


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Jul 03, 2015

I thought this book was very well written. I enjoyed reading the narrative as the voice of the storyteller was calm, soft and provoked beautiful imagery.

However, I did not like how the author spoke about Islam and the culture of Pakistan in this novel. I understand he was trying to give a new perspective, but I do not like the fact that a man from Canada writes about the beautiful country of Pakistan without actually living there. I feel we should give credit to the authors who live or are form those countries. I am sure there are many influential, upcoming novelists from Pakistan who are writing about the problems and the beauty that is there, but are just not getting their voices heard.

May 28, 2014

A childish "love story." Very limited vocabulary. Mediocre writing.

They say you should write about what you know, so what does this author who's lived in Cornwall, and Canada write about? Pakistan!

Cdnbookworm May 13, 2014

This short novel is intense and poetic. In northern Pakistan, the young son of the owner of a pomegranate orchard, sees a girl his age when he is taking the fruit to the local village market and offers her a choice fruit. Thus a friendship begins. When an opportunity arises as a result of a neighbour's wedding celebration, the boy brings the girl to see the beauty of the orchard, and the two fall asleep. Their relationship is discovered by her father, a powerful government representative, and the boy is seized, tortured and imprisoned without trial.
Fifteen years later, the released young man, physically fragile, makes his way home, and is discovered, and taken in by a kind man who lives near the village. As he recovers, he returns to the orchard again and again, revealing his story, discovering the fate of his family and the orchard he loved, and learning of the kindness and violence of his fellow man.
The writing in this book is beautiful, the story intense and moving. This is a book to savour and think about, and read again.

Mar 04, 2013

The Independent called the prose in this book "luminous" and I agree. However, many critics call this remarkable short novel a "love story," which might be misleading. It is more of a meditation on hope in the face of injustice and cruelty. I look forward to reading more by this writer.

Jun 03, 2012

This is a redemptive story of love and forgiveness. It was beautifully written.


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Jul 03, 2015

"Love must be shared, or else it is madness"- Peter Hobbs, In the Orchard, the Swallows

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