"No Harvest but a Thorn" is the first contemporary Malay novel to be translated into English by Adibah Amin. The original work is recognized as the most important work of National Laureate Shahnon Ahmad.
“No Harvest but a Thorn" ,the first contemporary Malay novel to be translated into English and the most important work of Shahnon Ahmad, can be read at many levels. At the simplest level it is the story of the inarticulate peasant world of the twentieth century, little known and hardly ever written about. The author sees the Malay peasant of today as a man following a way of
life not very different from that of his ancestors, still entirely dependent on the land and relying upon traditional tools and techniques.
At a higher level "No Harvest but a Thorn" is the story of man’s eternal fight for survival against the impersonal forces of nature. In a desperately unequal battle for a meagre
subsistence Lahuma’s only assets are a piece of land, his four limbs, a wife and seven children, all girls. The struggle is unending, the rewards skimpy. Faith in God is his only source of strength and solace. And he knows only that he must teach the next generation how to continue the fight.
Finally "No Harvest but a Thorn" is a parable about fatalism and the power of the book stems from the skill in which the story is set within the larger framework of man’s universal
struggle for existence. In making these points Shahnon’s novel reaches a peak of tragic intensity that makes it worthy of international recognition.