Geist - - Endnotes -

The Or­ange Grove by Larry Trem­blay, trans­lated by Sheila Fis­chman (Bi­b­lioa­sis), is dry and sparse and heart­break­ing, much like the un­named coun­try in which it takes place. Start with nine-year-old twin boys whose grand­par­ents are killed by a bomb from the other side of the moun­tain, add a ma­nip­u­la­tive leader from the next vil­lage who is steeped in the cul­ture of re­venge, put them to­gether with the myth of “the other” and a belt of ex­plo­sives and you soon re­al­ize that you are slow­ing down your read­ing pace in or­der to avoid what seems to be the in­evitable end­ing. “Think of Par­adise” and “You have been cho­sen by God,” says the vil­lage leader, us­ing rhetoric that con­trasts strongly with the quiet do­mes­tic­ity of the fam­ily’s life por­trayed so well in the strong, un­adorned writ­ing. As the sad­ness builds, so does a feel­ing of pow­er­less­ness: a pat­tern has been set and the char­ac­ters must play

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