Book Reviews

Book Review ~ In The Orchard, The Swallows

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This short book will leave you longing. In a strange mix of emotions, the end is finished but in a way, tells you nothing. It leaves you with a sense of completion and a sense of sadness. It makes you want to go down your own memory lane to contemplate the twists and turns of your own life, the decisions you made, the people you met, the choices you wish you could revisit, the happy memories, and the ones that make you cringe. The story asks questions that you may not have the answers to, like at what age should children be held accountable for their actions in the same way that adults are? Is there a such thing as love so overwhelming and intense that it waits, and accepts nothing else?

Peter Hobbs writes in such a way that the reader hangs onto every word and is stirred by them. The beauty of nature and the innocence of childhood is starkly contrasted with the dangerousness of challenging power and authority, no matter the reason, and the evilness that exists in the hearts of men. Hobbs writes, “I gather my breath. I try to imagine the weakness in my legs bleeding out into the dirt, being replaced by some vitality which ekes from the tree into my back. I wait as long as I am able, until the sun has found the road above and the skyline begins to glow bright, the mountain-tops white and blinding. The light will reach me soon. But I cannot stay to see it. In a few moments, before the evidence of life begins to show in the small house through the trees, before the farmer comes to his orchard and finds me here, I will stand and brush the sand from my shalwar, stretch once again to ease the aches in my muscles and joints, and begin the slow journey home” (Hobbs 13).

Published in 2014, if you haven’t read it yet, it’s time.

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