In the Orchard, the Swallows is a subtle poem to beauty lost, innocence ruined and sometimes what it takes to find your place back in the world. When I received a copy of this book, I was intrigued by the plot and immediately started reading it. When I read books related to a particular territory that is no longer accessible to the general population or is not what it used to be, a cord is struck within me and then it becomes very difficult for me to forget what I have read. In the Orchard, the Swallows is one such book.
In the foothills of a mountain range in Northern Pakistan, is a beautiful orchard. Or rather it used to be beautiful. The orchard is now neglected. No one takes care of it as it was once taken care of. Miles away, a young man has been released from prison. It is his story. His body – tortured and beaten tells the story of fifteen years of brutality. His family – now lost and the once love of his life, those are his stories to tell. He lands up at a stranger’s house and his story begins – of what once was and what is right now.
Peter Hobbs has created something else with this book. I had never heard of him before reading this book. I did not know who he was but after reading In the Orchard, the Swallows, I want to read more of what he has written or what he will. The beauty of the prose is an experience in itself – the descriptions of the lonely pomegranates hanging in the orchard, now no more there, will make your heartbreak in an instant. The writing could not have been simpler and evocative with the details. The emotions are in place and tug at the reader’s vulnerable heart.
In the Orchard, the Swallows is a book that you should not miss out on reading this year. It has all the elements that make a book memorable, without making it pretentious or phony. A read that I will recommend to everyone.