Friday, 23 June 2017

In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs


From Goodreads

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. 

My thoughts

This earned a very well deserved 8/10 or 4 stars from me.  I will look out for more stories by this Author.

It's a short story that packs a punch. Narrated by the unnamed main character we are taken on a harrowing journey that sees him imprisoned at a young age. Who'd have known that love and our actions could lead to what happened to him? Lots of us will have been in a similar situation to him, but fortunately for us the outcomes would not have had the same result as his did. Cultures and religions have a lot to answer for and what happens in one country thankfully doesn't always happen in another, the consequences that follow as a result of our actions, thankfully aren't always the same either.

As the story is told in flashbacks to the past we learn of the conditions and the treatment that our narrator suffered in the prison in Pakistan. The Pakistan countryside, the lushness of the orchard and the surrounding area is in complete contrast to the prison environment.

As the narrator leaves prison, will he find things as they were when he was younger or will everything have changed? The answer to us is obvious, the narrator however has held on to the belief that some things will have remained the same. He is a shadow of the person he once was, he has suffered badly at the hands of the prison guards.

This is a very well written story that is extremely thought provoking, in my opinion it would make a perfect reading group read as there is so much that can be discussed despite the length of the story.     

No comments:

Post a Comment