Under the Almond Tree
By Laura McVeigh
The poignant story of a refugee Afghan family fleeing the Taliban in the 1990s, travelling back and forth on the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia. Narrated by 15 year-old daughter Samar, the family storyteller, we quickly come to discover all is not as it seems in this story of loss and love.
If you lost everything you loved, how would you survive and begin again? Under the Almond Tree tells the story of one refugee family fleeing Afghanistan and the catastrophic effects of war and displacement.
Fifteen year old Samar and her family are refugees, fleeing the conflict in 1990s Kabul, after the Russians and then the Taliban, turn their lives inside out. They are aboard the Trans-Siberian Express as it travels across Russia towards an uncertain future. With the help of Napoleon, the ticket collector, her beloved copy of Anna Karenina, and her family, Samar narrates the story of their epic journey away from their happy life in Kabul and everything they have known. But, as Samar's tale unfolds, and the secrets of the family are unearthed, we slowly discover that the truth is far more devastating - and more full of hope - than we could ever have imagined. Under the Almond Tree is a story of how we keep the truth from those we love, and even from ourselves, to hold on to the beliefs which underpin our lives. It's also the story of extraordinary resilience and courage, in a turbulent world where nothing can be relied upon, but everything is possible.
LAURA MCVEIGH grew up in Northern Ireland. She read Modern & Medieval Languages at Cambridge University.
Previously Director of PEN International, the leading worldwide writers' organisation, she has travelled widely campaigning on freedom of expression issues around the world. Laura is also a passionate advocate for girls' education having served as Director of The Global Girls Fund.
She lives in London and the Balearics with her family. Under the Almond Tree is her debut novel and she is currently writing her second, The Plantation House.
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- Publication date:
23 Feb 2017
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Laura McVeigh's moving novel retells the history of Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion through the experiences of one family - as seen through the eyes of a young woman. McVeigh pays tribute to the resilience of Afghan women through her depiction of the horrors they undergo - and the strength that they find to survive — Deeyah Khan, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom & Creativity