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The Orange Grove

by Larry Tremblay

Caught in the conflict, a father must choose one of his twin sons for a suicide mission. Though never specified, you can infer it's set in an Arabic country. It's a story that stays with you for some time after reading, showing the horrors of war, the futility of extremism and the desperate lies that can rip a family apart. Though the subject is sad, and shocking, the book is very readable with a simple, poetic beauty to the words.

Extract

To kill time, they played at blowing themselves up in the orange grove. Aziz had stolen an old belt from his father than they weighted with three tin cans full of sand. They took turns wearing it, slipping into the skin of a future martyr. The orange trees also played war with them. The trees became enemies, endless rows of warriors poised to launch their explosive fruits at the slightest suspicious noise. The boys worked their way between them, crawling and scraping their knees. When they activated the detonator - an old shoelace - trees were uprooted by the force of the explosion, shooting into the sky in a thousand fragments, falling back down onto their torn bodies.
Translated by Sheila Fischman

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