Finished April 18
In the Orchard, The Swallows by Peter Hobbs
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.