In the Orchard, the Swallows by Peter Hobbs

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This is a very slim book, meditative and shot through with acute sensory touches.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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

 

About Peter Hobbs

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Peter Hobbs grew up in Cornwall and Yorkshire, and lives in London. His debut novel, The Short Day Dying, was published by Faber in 2005. It was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and won a Betty Trask Prize. It was also shortlisted for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A collection of stories, I Could Ride All Day In My Cool Blue Train, was published in 2006.
 
Published January 3, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 146 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for In the Orchard, the Swallows
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Dec 21 2013

We see Saba only through the narrator’s eyes as an idealized icon, and the fablelike ending reinforces a sense of unreality that hobbles this well-intentioned but flawed effort to imaginatively enter a foreign world.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Mirza Waheed on Jan 13 2012

This is a very slim book, meditative and shot through with acute sensory touches.

Read Full Review of In the Orchard, the Swallows | See more reviews from Guardian

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Krista Foss on May 27 2012

Islam’s purgative for envy and hate, grown in the gardens of paradise, does some symbolic heavy lifting in Peter Hobbs’s exquisite novel, In the Orchard, the Swallows.

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Reader Rating for In the Orchard, the Swallows
85%

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