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Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali
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Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (1992)

by Tariq Ali

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302None36,863 (3.66)11
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This was a story of one family's fight to keep their religion and not have to convert to become Christians. They wanted the right to practice their Muslim religion. Umar the father is very rich and will not convert nor will his two daughters or his two sons, they want to be able to practice freely and openly and not fear death. The older son leaves to form an army to fight the Jihad. This book told a story about how one religion wants to be the only religion and would try to accomplish it anyway they could.
The author had a great storyline and wonderfully realistic characters. I plan on reading more of this author soon. ( )
  druidgirl | Nov 9, 2013 |
In both its subject and its point of view this is a fascinating book, because it deals with an aspect of Renaissance history that we very rarely see in historical fiction - life in Gharnata (Grenada) in circa 1499-1500, after the city's fall to Ferdinand and Isabella - and a perspective that is similarly represented - that of the Muslim citizens suffering Christian oppression. As their liberties and religious freedom are slowly eroded by the queen's confessor Ximenes de Cisneros, and as the shadow of the Inquisition looms on the horizon, the men and women of Gharnata must make their choice about how to live in this new world. Will they convert, in order to keep their lands? Flee to Africa? Or stand and fight? We follow one noble family and their retainers - the Banu Hudayl - as they tackle these questions, while still trying to draw what pleasure from life they can.

The concept behind the book is well worth your time - but unfortunately the writing is heavy-handed and sometimes simply weak. The point of view dances about between characters in a single scene, sometimes within a matter of lines, and dialogues are often simply ways to have one character tell another a large slice of backstory or family history. Despite their moving setting, the characters never quite come to life enough for me to really care about them - and these stylistic issues were distracting enough to undermine my pleasure in the story itself. This is still worth reading if you're interested in the period or religious history, because there don't seem to be many other novels which take such an original perspective on the Renaissance, but personally I found it extremely hard to engage with it.

See a longer and more detailed review on my blog:
http://theidlewoman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/shadows-of-pomegranate-tree-tariq-ali... ( )
  Leander2010 | Oct 21, 2013 |
The writing style was a little tough at times, and the poetry is far from excellent, but overall I would recommend the book to those interested in history, especially that of Moorish Spain around the time of Reconquista. The book is very emotional, and had me close to tearing up by the end. It also brings forth much anger at the atrocities committed in the named of "Virgin Mary." This book has given me the final push to read Islamic literature and dabble in Arabic. ( )
  rboyechko | Mar 3, 2011 |
I got this book through www.readitswapit.co.uk one of the great things about that site is that you never know quite which edition you are going to get. My edition of this book was printed and sold in Pakistan and contains the some bizarre errors in both spelling and layout. This is an odd book, sixties far-left revolutionary, Tariq Ali, writes a novel (actually this is the first book of a quartet) to set the record straight about the secular and liberal world of Muslim Spain and the brutality of the Spanish reconquest. In doing this, he makes heroes of feudal Muslim landowners, aristocrats who live off the labour of serfs and peasants; peasants who touch their forelocks and love their betters, even when jus primae noctis is being practiced willy-nilly. A less likely bunch of heroes, for an old Trot like Ali, it would be hard to find.

It is pretty terrible, cliched plot, characters with modern sensibilities in late medieval Spain, awkward and unconvincing direct speech. A plot from Barbara Cartland, with dialogue from Acorn Antiques - avoid. ( )
2 vote Greatrakes | Sep 4, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
Tarik Ali pripoveda o posledicama pada Granade kroz priču o porodici koja pokušava da preživi nakon sloma svoga sveta. Ova vešto ispričana saga govori o životu ukletih stanovnika grada opkoljenog sa svih strana netrpeljivim hrišćanskim snagama. Ovo je roman koji ono što ima da kaže, govori glasno i jasno.
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Για την Άισα, τον Τσενγκίζ και τη Νατάσα
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Myths always overpower truth in family histories.
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Book description
A dramatic novel set in Granada in 1500, eight years before its fall to the Spainish, it presents the story of one family during this turbulent period living between the end of one civilization and the rise of another focusing on the tension between the two.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0860916766, Paperback)

"An enthralling story, unraveled with thrift and verve. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is quizzical as well as honest, informative as well as enjoyable, real history as well as fiction ... a book to be relished and devoured."—The Independent

Tariq Ali tells us the story of the aftermath of the fall of Granada by narrating a family sage of those who tried to survive after the collapse of their world. Ali is particularly deft at evoking what life must have been like for those doomed inhabitants, besieged on all sides by intolerant Christendom. "This is a novel that have something to say, and says it well."—The Guardian

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:17 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Tells the story of a family in Moorish Spain and their attempts to survive after the fall of Granada.

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