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Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (1992)

by Tariq Ali

Series: Islam Quintet (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5101736,926 (3.61)25
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… (more)
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» See also 25 mentions

English (9)  Spanish (6)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
So good and so sad! ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
The historical novel, The Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali tells of the Reconquest of Spain during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in the 1500s. The Reconquest was the absorbing or eliminating of Jews and Muslims from Christian lands. Although the Moors had allowed all religions their freedoms and rights and there existed treaties for the Christians to allow the Muslims their religion and culture, both Queen Isabella and certain Church officials were strongly opposed. Focusing on one family, the Banu Hudayl, we learn of the price paid by the doomed Muslims of the sixteenth century Spain.

This family lived just outside Grenada and for over 800 years had been a powerful force in the Muslim world. In the times written of, each member held their own beliefs and expectations of what was going to occur and how best to react. Narrated by multi-generational members of the family, we learn of their life and their culture through the descriptions of food, clothing, daily routines and the inter-action of various family members with one another.

While much of the book seemed more like a non-fiction recreation of Moorish society, the author certainly managed to get across his message of how hatred can destroy. I was fascinated by this look at events from a different aspect. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is a tragic story of the destroying of Islamic Culture for the political and monetary gain of the Roman Catholic Church. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 6, 2021 |
I picked this up because I was interested in the setting, and I suppose the characters and plot are entertaining enough, but unfortunately this is just not very well written. The ending was very unsatisfying (what is the point of the epilogue?) and there are a lot of misplaced commas, weird line breaks and abrupt mid-scene POV changes. I was also not a fan of the incest plotlines. ( )
  tronella | Jun 6, 2020 |
The first of a series of novels by Tariq Ali that describe historical events through the artifice of fictional or semi-fictional and some historical players. The first in the series is an easy-to-read account of the tragic aftermath of the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabelle when first Jewish and then Muslim families were forced to convert or evicted despite initial promises of tolerance. I'm not a big factition fan, but if you're looking for a short novel on this period, this would be a good choice. Would recommend for young readers (13 and up--there's some sexual content) interested in 15-16C European history. ( )
  pbjwelch | Jul 25, 2017 |
This is the first in a series Ali has written concerning the history of Islam, and the setting is the late 15th-century Iberian Peninsula, near the culmination of the Spanish Reconquista. Young Yazid's well-to-do family has lived for countless generations on their estate outside Gharnata (Span. Granada) in the Al-Andalus region of modern-day southern Spain. But they are Muslim, and the Catholic Church has issued an ultimatum: convert or be destroyed.

I selected this book somewhat randomly while browsing the library stacks one day, and I'm so glad I did, although it is utterly heartbreaking. Any book lover -- or worse, librarian -- will be horrified and dismayed at the opening scene in which nearly the entirety of the written culture of the Moors goes up in flames. The reader is also obliged to consider the meaning of ownership when it comes to land and geography. The Moors themselves invaded Al-Andalus in 722, and enjoyed a cultured, sophisticated, educated society in that region for the next 700+ years. Did it now belong to them? Or was Christian Spain fully within its rights to take back land that had been out of its control for as long? Is not history a perpetual campaign of humans wresting land and resources from one another? ( )
  ryner | Jan 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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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For Aisha, Chengiz and Natasha
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The five Christian knights summoned to the apartment of Ximenes de Cisneros did not welcome the midnight call.
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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

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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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