Twin brothers Amed and Aziz live in the peaceful shade of their family’s orange grove. But when a bomb kills the boys’ grandparents, the war that plagues their country changes their lives forever. Blood must repay blood, and, in order to avenge their grandparents’ deaths, one brother must offer the ultimate sacrifice. Years later, the surviving twin – now a student actor in a wintry Montreal – is given a role which forces him to confront the past. Tremblay, an actor and director himself, poses the difficult question: can art ever adequately address suffering? Both current and timeless, written with the sharp purity of desert poetry, The Orange Grove depicts the haunting inheritance of war and its aftermath.
Readers will be uncomfortably stirred by this poignant novel about the haunting effects of war from Tremblay, a prolific Montreal actor, playwright, and author of over 30 books. Aziz and Amed are nine-year-old identical twins growing up in the war-torn Arab Middle East (their exact location left intentionally vague by the author) at their family's orange grove. When a bomb kills the boys' grandparents, a religious militant faction convinces their father, Zahed, that "revenge is the only answer for your grief." Zahed is given a belt of explosives and told to choose one of his sons to send on a suicide-bombing mission. In an act of desperation, their distraught mother tries to switch the boys' identities, leading to a tragic event that dishonors their family in the eyes of the militants and their religious community. A decade later, the surviving twin, plagued by regret and despair, builds a new life as an actor in Montreal, trying to find reason in art. This is a tale of the innumerable tragedies of war bereavement, brainwashing, aftermath told with the lyricism of an epic parable or fairytale, one the reader will not soon forget.