UNDER THE ALMOND TREE by Laura McVeigh
The poignant story of a refugee Afghan family fleeing the Taliban in the 1990s, travelling back and forth on the Trans-Siberian Express across Russia, as they try to decide where and how they will be allowed to make a new life.
Narrated by 15 year-old daughter Samar, the family storyteller, we quickly come to discover all is not as it seems in this story of loss and love.
‘Laura McVeigh’s moving novel retells the history of Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion through the experiences of one family – as seen through the eyes of a young woman. McVeigh pays tribute to the resilience of Afghan women through her depiction of the horrors they undergo – and the strength that they find to survive’
Deeyah Khan, UN Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom & Creativity, Film-maker, Activist
If you lost everything you loved, how would you survive and begin again?
Under the Almond Tree tells the story of one refugee family fleeing conflict and war in Afghanistan in the 1990s as they travel towards freedom and safety.
Fifteen year old Samar, the middle child, shares the story of her incredible journey on the Trans-Siberian Express – with the help of Napoleon, the Ticket Collector, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and her parents and siblings.
Forced to flee Kabul as the Russians, then the Taliban, turn their lives inside out, the children and their parents face the loss of their world and their place in it. Throughout, our storyteller Samar bravely holds onto family and hope, often when all survival seems impossible.
With the true strength that comes from love, learning and imagination, Samar reveals her extraordinary resilience and the discovery that anything may be possible – if you can just hold on to hope and love.
LAURA MCVEIGH grew up in Northern Ireland. She read Modern & Medieval Languages at Cambridge University.
Previously Director of PEN International, the leading worldwide writers’ organisation, she has travelled widely campaigning on freedom of expression issues around the world. Laura is also a passionate advocate for girls’ education having served as Director of The Global Girls Fund.
She lives in London and the Balearics with her family. Under the Almond Tree is her debut novel and she is currently writing her second, The Plantation House.