Book review: Under The Almond Tree

“WE don’t choose the stories we tell,” writes Laura McVeigh in Under The Almond Tree’s afterword, “they choose us.”

Laura McVeigh

Two Roads, £17.99;

ebook, £11.99

The story that has chosen this Irish-born Londoner concerns a family of Afghani refugees fleeing the wreckage of their country following the Taliban’s uprising. 

Seen from the viewpoint of Samar, a young girl with a passion for Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, they eventually find sanctuary in two cabins of the Trans-Siberian Express, travelling back and forward on the line, making a home of perpetual movement.

In her former work, McVeigh was Executive Director of PEN International, and her belief in the power of literature to transform lives shines through.

A novel look at displacement and belonging, and of how we make sense of the world through story, it falls short through McVeigh never quite managing to believably bridge the gap between her own world and Samar’s.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Books for kids...

Book review: When Ideas Matter: Speeches for an Ethical Republic

Book review: 2084: The End of the World

Book review: The Woman Next Door


Breaking Stories

Two arrested in murder bid probe after man struck with hatchet

Man taken from mother after birth urges justice for baby home abuse victims

Man held after woman found locked in car and machete recovered

Man seriously injured after being 'ejected out back window' of car in Limerick

Lifestyle

Move over, David Gandy — there’s a new crew of Irish men making their mark on the catwalk

The benefit of sport is more than just winning

Dublin Cookie Co is cooking up a business

Ask Audrey: I tried tantric sex with my yoga instructor once and we managed 47 minutes before the bus arrived at Parnell Place

More From The Irish Examiner