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During a village wedding in Pakistan, an unnamed boy risks speaking to the beautiful daugther of a powerful local politician. As night falls, the two meet in his father's orchard, inadvertently falling asleep waiting for the light of dawn to reveal the orchard's beauty, naïve to the dangers that await their innocent mistake.
As first light approaches, and the girl's father realizes the young couple's mutual attraction, he imprisons the boy without explanation or the benefit of a trial. Fifteen years later, the boy—now a man—is released without a word. Bereft of family and weakened from years of abuse, he collapses on the side of the road and is taken in by a kindly scholar. As time passes, the man recovers enough to take daily walks to his father's now abandoned orchard, where he last saw his young beloved among the trees, beneath soaring, fluttering swallows.
In clear, crystalline prose, Peter Hoobs reveals the ability of the human spirit to conquer the random cruelties of life, and how the power of love and hope, once known, can never truly be extinguished.
About the Author
Peter Hobbs grew up in Cornwall and Yorkshire, England. His debut novel, The Short Day Dying, won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Whitebread First Novel Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His collection of short stories, I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train, was published in 2006.
Praise for In the Orchard, the Swallows
"A perfectly cut jewel of a book."
—The Financial Times
"In fine, burnished prose, Hobbs takes the reader on a beautiful, often painful, journey of a young man's doomed yearning for love... I immensely enjoyed this fine novel."
"Hobbs makes beautiful writing look simple; his sentences are clean, spare, unladen with excess baggage, and yet they shine like jewels... This is a simple tale, beautifully told."
—The Independent on Sunday
"[Peter Hobbs] speaks of the indomitability of the human heart and of the salvation of the imagination when nothing else remains."
—The Financial Times
"Hobbs strips his story to its essentials and, in doing so, creates a remarkably moving parable of the perennial conflict between love and power."
—The Sunday Times