In the Orchard, the Swallows

Peter Hobbs (Author)


This tale of innocence and corruption in Pakistan is "a beautiful, often painful, journey of a young man's doomed yearning for love" (The Guardian).

During a village wedding in Pakistan, a boy risks speaking to the beautiful daughter of a powerful local politician. As night falls, the two meet in his father's orchard, inadvertently falling asleep as they wait for the light of dawn to reveal the orchard's beauty, naive to the dangers posed by their innocent mistake. As first light approaches, and the girl's father realizes the young couple's mutual attraction, he has the boy sent to prison without explanation or the benefit of a trial. Fifteen years later, the boy--now a man--is released without a word. Bereft of family and weakened from years of abuse, he collapses on the side of the road and is taken in by a kindly scholar. As time passes, the man recovers enough to take daily walks to his father's now abandoned orchard, where he last saw his young beloved among the trees, beneath soaring, fluttering swallows . . . In clear, crystalline prose, this novel reveals the ability of the human spirit to conquer the random cruelties of life, and how the power of love and hope, once known, can never truly be extinguished.

"Hobbs' prose is spare, clean, and lyrical, giving In the Orchard, the Swallows a timeless feeling; however, the markers of the Afghan war and the changes in the landscape remind the reader that this story is very contemporary."--Booklist

"A perfectly cut jewel of a book."--The Financial Times

Product Details

$15.00  $13.80
Europa Editions
Publish Date
February 04, 2014
5.3 X 0.6 X 8.2 inches | 0.4 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Peter Hobbs grew up in Cornwall and Yorkshire, England. His debut novel, The Short Day Dying, won the Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Whitebread First Novel Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His collection of short stories, I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train, was published in 2006.


"Hobbs writes with clarity and purity" -- The Daily Telegraph

"Beautifully crafted, tender and very, very moving" -- The Daily Mail

"The story is equally a testament to the endurance of love, loyalty and hope." -- The Independent

"This is simple yet breathtaking storytelling." -- The Globe and Mail

"A beautiful, often painful, journey of a young man's doomed yearning for love ... I immensely enjoyed this fine novel." - The Guardian
Praise for In the Orchard, the Swallows

"A perfectly cut jewel of a book."
--The Financial Times

"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."
--The Guardian

"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."
--The Independent on Sunday

"[Peter Hobbs] speaks of the indomitability of the human heart and of the salvation of the imagination when nothing else remains."
--The Financial Times

"Hobbs strips his story to its essentials and, in doing so, creates a remarkably moving parable of the perennial conflict between love and power."
--The Sunday Times