I received a copy of this book as part of First Reads. Thank-you!
I was very excited to receive this book because the description sounded quite compellI received a copy of this book as part of First Reads. Thank-you!
I was very excited to receive this book because the description sounded quite compelling! This is the story of an man from Afghanistan who was persecuted because of his beliefs. Regardless of your political views or religious ideologies, it is difficult to be in a situation where your life is endanger because of what you believe! It takes a lot of courage for a man like "The Poet" (his pseudonym - used to protect his identity) to share his story.
I thought this book publication was very timely because of the current situation in that country and the focus of the media because of U.S. military involvement.
The problems I'm having with this book are that the writing is very vague. There are events mentioned in this book that, if expounded upon, could be compelling and take the reader on an exciting journey fraught with danger, perilous escapes and survival. (Sneaking across Europe with smugglers? Please, tell me more!) "The Poet" talks about his politically charged poetry and the place of poetry in that culture. (You have my attention!) Can I read some? How was it published? The answers to these questions is a bland, "I have tried to express my feelings in poetry, but poetry loses its power when translated." (p. 59). There are many sections in this book where the author does much more "telling" then "showing." (Later in the book, we're given examples of a poem and two parables.) In these cases the points he wants to make would be much more powerful if his experiences were related as narrative instead of statements.
Another problem that I have with this book is are the preachy passages full of over-generalizations. Here's an example: "In fact, all Muslims are potential enemies of thinkers who publish their ideas, of educated people, of people they do not understand, and of Christians." (p. 53). This kind of blanket statement is extremely dangerous! The author isn't clear that he's writing about his experiences with an extremist government and religious fanatics.
As the story moves forward, we learn about the Poet's difficulties as he tries to find asylum in the U.K. He's attacked by radical Muslims in that country! The second half of the story really got me emotionally involved because "the Poet" is let down over and over by humanitarian organizations and governments in many countries! I was especially shocked to read about how the Poet's family was used against him!
The uneven prose is leaving a lot of questions in my mind about the purpose of the book. Is this book meant to be a political commentary? Is this book a biography/testimony of a man's religious journey? I'm not entirely sure. The introduction describes the language barrier between Jay Fluckiger and "the Poet." Even if this is the case, surely there are ways to make the story more readable?
I hope this story reaches the right hands and opens eyes to what's happening right now in Afghanistan! I hope "the Poet" and his family find justice and are able to share their story.