Friday, May 24, 2013

The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti *****

The Almond Tree recounts 50 years of Israeli history through the eyes of a Palestinian mathematical prodigy written by Jewish-American author Michelle Cohen Corasanti.

Ichmad Hamid opens his story in 1955 as a child living in Israel when his little sister climbs out of her crib goes wandering. Ichmad and the family find her across the street from their house ... in the a mine field. No amount a screaming "Don't move!" can save her from being blown to pieces while her family watches helplessly. Like Pangloss, and Job before him, Ichmad faces this and each tragedy that follows with faith and optimism.

Ichmad's mother and his brother Abbas want to kill the Israelis, while he and his father want to live in peace. This is the essential conflict in the Middle East - peace or war. Since the sad history for Israel and Palestine is known, the author explores the history for individual Palestinians. Ichmad or Abbas ... who has the right approach ... who can make a differences for themselves, their families, their country?

Not surprisingly, no answer is offered for that last question ... for that matter, no answers are offered at all ... just a well-written fantasy of success against long odds. It is this lack of answers that allows this story to be a great novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

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