Faber & Faber, £7.99
In the Orchard, the Swallows, By Peter Hobbs
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 18 January 2013
In the mountains of northern Pakistan, near the snow-capped Afghan passes, a teenage boy tangles with a local bigwig whose daughter he loves and is flung into jail "not to be punished, but to be forgotten".
After 15 brutal years and a capricious release, he returns to his village and orchards.
As meditative in its tread as the strolls of its fragile recovering narrator, Hobbs's novel captures the experience of confinement, and its bitter legacy of trauma.
His gravely luminous prose delivers scenes of breath-stopping beauty – and of horror.
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