Author: Sanchit Gupta
Publisher: Nyogi Books
Inspired by true events, this riveting narrative traces the lives of Safeena Malik, Deewan Bhat and Bilal Ahanagar, three childhood friends who grow up in an atmosphere of peace and amity in Srinagar, Kashmir, until the night of 20 January 1990 changes it all.
While Deewan is forced to flee from his home, Safeena’s mother becomes ‘collateral damage’ and Bilal has to embrace a wretched life of poverty and fear. The place they called paradise becomes a battleground and their friendship struggles when fate forces them to choose sides against their will.Twenty years later destiny brings them to a crossroads again, when they no longer know what is right and what is wrong. While both compassion and injustice have the power to transform lives, will the three friends now choose to become sinful criminals or pacifist saints?
The Tree with a Thousand Apples is a universal story of cultures, belongingness, revenge and atonement. The stylised layered format, fast-paced narration and suspenseful storytelling make for a powerful, gripping read.
This book is creating a lot of BUZZ in the market. The question is, is it worth it? YES, a thousand times yes. We finally have another author of Khaled Hosseini’s calibre, and he is from India!
The book revolves around the lives of three friends: Bilal, Safeena and Deewan. Three neighbours and childhood friends who spend almost each waking hour with each other. But as unrest seizes Kashmir, we witness how these three are thrown in different directions for no fault of theirs, except that they were born in a particular place and that their families practice a particular religion.
In this book fiction mixes seamlessly with reality, so we find real incidents that we have read about affect these characters that we have grown the care about. There are also some wonderful conversations that would tug on your heart strings.
The writing, the characterization, the scene setting is so authentic, you can actually feel the events happening around you. The story line and pace are such that you do not feel like keeping the book down. The author definitely has a way with words and has managed to convey this story in such easy, and yet riveting, language that the book can be enjoyed by all kinds of readers.
As with any other great book, it makes you think, and think hard. Just look at a few lines that we find on the book’s jacket:
I believe that this book has come at the right time. Not just in India, but in many countries, we find that too often there is a single story. Only one side gets to tell their side of the story, and so obviously, the masses will condemn the other side. But, there is a danger of the single story and this book does a phenomenal job of taking into account people from all opinions and beliefs and portraying them as, well, people..who can do right and wrong. I believe this book is important for all to read, not just because it is a great story but it will make you at least sit back and make you think about the other side before judging them.
A word of caution: the book has some excellent descriptions of Kashmiri cuisine so you might find yourself salivating.
I rate this book a perfect 4 out of 4