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.


Breaking Stories

Gardaí hunt for man, woman and two children after man attacked and has car stolen in Meath

Minister denies National Children's Hospital is trying to cut corners on fire regulations

Court sentences man who bought car later used in drive-by shooting of NI prison officer David Black

Central Bank: €160m paid out in tracker scandal already, 'no upper limit' on bank pay-outs

Lifestyle

A helicopter put a piano on the 150-foot roof of Blarney Castle and other stories from the Cork Jazz Festival archives

Jazz Memories: Famous faces share their favourite moments

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

Choosing a sheltered spot for Maples is vital

More From The Irish Examiner