As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Eighteen year old Salama volunteers as a nurse at her local hospital in Syria. For fifty years, the country has been under dictatorship, and the Free Syrian Army has taken to the streets to protect civilians.
Salama’s days are filled with fear and grief, as she works to save the lives of those who come through the hospital doors. Including Kenan, a dreamer who believes in fighting for justice and freedom- something that Salama cannot afford to risk. As the violence against Syrians continues to escalate, Salama faces an impossible choice; leave and hope she survives the journey to Europe or stay and save others before she dies in her homeland.
The cover artwork is beautifully decorated and effectively illustrates the heart of the story. The recurring motifs of lemons and lemon trees as a symbol of hope for a future is touched on in the characters’ healing process. Amidst the brutality that is witnessed in their realities, lemon trees allow their dreams to shine through. The tree is planted on the ruins of what once was to emphasise that hope takes time to grow. This book is an incredibly difficult but essential read. The narrator does not shy away from the atrocities that were committed. Instead, the reader walks through the hospital and between patients, creating a sense of urgency. A love letter to Syria, As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow is a hauntingly profound story of love, loss and the courage to hope.