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In the Orchard, the Swallows

Written by Peter Hobbs

  • 152 Pages
  • 9781770892118
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Romance / General



Publication Date April 14, 2012

Named a Book of the Year by both the Guardian and Chapters/Indigo, In the Orchard, the Swallows is a moving story of lost love in war-torn Pakistan — now available in a book club edition.

In the foothills of a mountain range in northern Pakistan is a beautiful orchard. Swallows wheel and dive silently over the branches, and the scent of jasmine threads through the air. Pomegranates hang heavy, their skins darkening to a deep crimson. Neglected now, the trees are beginning to grow wild, their fruit left to spoil on the branches.

Many miles away, a frail young man is flung out of prison gates. Looking up, scanning the horizon for swallows in flight, he stumbles and collapses in the roadside dust. His ravaged body tells the story of fifteen years of brutality.

Just one image has held and sustained him through the dark times — the thought of the young girl who had left him dumbstruck with wonder all those years ago, whose eyes were lit up with life.

A tale of tenderness in the face of great and corrupt power, In the Orchard, the Swallows is a heartbreaking novel written in prose of exquisite stillness and beauty.

Selected for the Chapters/Indigo Best Books 2012

Selected for the Guardian Books of the Year 2012


Peter Hobbs
Peter Hobbs is a British writer. His debut novel, The Short Day Dying, was a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and won a Betty Trask Award. A collection of stories, I Could Ride All Day In My Cool Blue Train, was published in 2006. He divides his time between Yorkshire and London, United Kingdom.


"Like the story itself, the style is simple and straightforward and packs a powerful punch. Beautifully crafted, tender and very, very moving." Daily Mail

"In fine, burnished prose, Hobbs takes the reader on a beautiful, often painful, journey of a young man's doomed yearning for love ... I immensely enjoyed this fine novel." Guardian

"... achingly moving ... Hobbs makes beautiful writing look simple; his sentences are clean, spare, unladen with excess baggage, and yet they shine like jewels ... this is a simple tale, beautifully told." Independent

"This perfectly cut jewel of a book speaks of the indomitability of the human heart and of the salvation of the imagination when nothing else remains." Financial Times

"... tender, graceful but devastating ... Hobbs's gravely luminous prose delivers scenes of breath-catching beauty -- or horror." Independent

"Hobbs writes with clarity and purity, able to detail the horrors of his protagonist’s torture as convincingly as he can describe the beauty of a garden." Telegraph

"... poetic ... the politics of this book can not be ignored ..." Telegraph Journal

""...In the Orchard, the Swallows is a literary experience of rare power. "" Montreal Gazette

"A honed, elegant work of casual audacity ... perfect ..." Maclean's

"... exquisite ... this is simple yet breathtaking storytelling." Globe and Mail

"... this slim novel is dense with hope and heartbreak" Montreal Review of Books