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A Poet of the Invisible World

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  67 reviews
A FINALIST FOR THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD

In the tradition of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha comes a new spiritual novel that is a stunning feat of storytelling and imagination.

A Poet of the Invisible World follows Nouri, a boy born in thirteenth-century Persia with four ears instead of two. Orphaned as an infant, he’s taken into a Sufi order, where he meets an assortment of dervishes and embar/>A/>In
...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Picador
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Sofia
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

As I type out these words the perfume of basil rises up from my fingers and makes me smile. Because the first thing I did upon reading the last words was go out in the garden. Time spent with my little ones is my calming down time, my dreaming time, my smiling time, my thinking time.

Because that is what this book is about for me. It’s about the journey, not the destination. It’s the journey that is important not the final destination. And it’s not how many times I fall or go off on t
...more
Roger Brunyate
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-lesbian, religion
A Fabulous Tale
Celestial light,
Shine inward… that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

— John Milton

No matter how tired they were from the week's labor, no matter how dull from too much baghali polo the night before, no matter how eager to praise God or make tea or milk the cow, there was no one in the tiny village of Al-Kashir who was not stunned the news that early that morning, in the slant-roofed shed behind the mud-walled house, Maleeh al-Morad had given birth to a bright-/>No/>
Celestial
...more
Jane
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enchanting, moving novel, almost like a beautiful, spellbinding folktale. Set in medieval Persia, it traces the life of a man, Nouri, who as a baby rejected by his parents for his four ears, is brought up by Sufis and then himself seeks union with God through his journey [both real and metaphorical] of life, learning through Sufi teachings and through his experiences of joy, sadness, humiliation, suffering, temptation, pain, pleasure, bliss in his dear friend's embrace--and finally, love of God. ...more
Mark
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is a beautiful story and contains quite a lot of background information on Sufism. The last few chapters seemed compressed or rushed to me. It covers the entire life of the main character "Nouri" who travels widely. It is a story of spiritual growth or individuation in Jungian terms that is reminiscent of Herman Hesse Siddhartha or Demian, but here is is spiritual growth in the Sufi Islamic tradition. It isn't as clear as in Siddhartha what the main character learns (or unlearns) from each ph ...more
Gloria D. Moser
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Oh, what a beautiful, heartbreaking story! The quest to find union with God is full of turmoil...can ONLY be so. This book illuminates one of an infinite number of paths to Oneness. Breathtaking.
Lee
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the story but wondered about the need for the homosexual aspect. the story telling, language and historical geography were all outstanding as was the Sufi religious information.
Hope
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was beautiful. Just like the title, the author knows how to weave poetry into prose. I found myself unable to put it down, following this beautiful boy named Nouri through the tragic events of his life, before finally gaining the spiritual meaning he longed for as a child. Being born with four ears as well as being gay, it was hard seeming him go on a journey where he was an outcast to many people because of his differences. Yet, in the end, it is because of these differences and the s ...more
Marinela "SAM" De Leon
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was quite interesting coming face to face with the Sufis--their initiation, devotion and rites. Then the endless herbs and spices that seemed to abound in every chapter. Nouri embodies everyone's search for the meaning of life and it was slightly disappointing when the last chapters made me feel rushed. It still is a beautiful read.
Jessica Scott
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing read. Feeling somewhat shellshocked now as I try to reconnect with the world outside of the book.
LenaRibka


A finalist of the 28th Lambda in the category Gay Fiction


"He did not know what it meant to be normal. He only knew what it meant to be Nouri.
Who had four ears.
And was far from home.
And was trying to find his way back to God."




"For though he knew by now that words could never enter the invisible world, they could carry him to the threshold. And despite what he'd been through, he still felt the need to praise."



Beautifully written
A very eloquent prose
A flowery language
Full of truly amazing wisdom
About faith, life and love
Very educational
Spiritual and philosophical
Lyrical and soulful
Easy to read and easy to feel with...




A finalist of the 28th Lambda in the category Gay Fiction


"He did not know what it meant to be normal. He only knew what it meant to be Nouri.
Who had four ears.
And was far from home.
And was trying to find his way back to God."




"For though he knew by now that words could never enter the invisible world, they could carry him to the threshold. And despite what he'd been through, he still felt the need to praise."



Beautifully written
A very eloquent prose
A flowery language
Full of truly amazing wisdom
About faith, life and love
Very educational
Spiritual and philosophical
Lyrical and soulful
Easy to read and easy to feel with...




** BR with my buddy Sofia.
...more
Nurliyanaas
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Nouri was born with four ears. He falled into Habib's arms from the sky. Later was the story of his journey in sufism, to be closer with his creator. Interesting. So I picked this book and at first, the story was intriguing.

It was followed by a series of unfortunate events happened to Nouri. Golding tried so hard to make the story mystical but I felt like while all of these happened, Nouri did not really exist. The turning point was when the writer explicitly linked homosexuality wit
...more
Magdelanye
To think I grabbed this book from the library just because of the title. How is it that I never heard a peep about it before, when people should be shouting from the rooftops, what an, amazing, tender and mesmerizing book, multiply satisfying yet terminally sad.
I will write something more when I have regained my senses
Rennie
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
A story a bit like a leaf blowing around, landing here and there for a year or ten years but I did have to keep reading to see what would happen. Very engaging writing style and good characterization but a bit mystic for me.

If Sufism is as depicted in this story, it is an interesting approach to life but there seemed to be no role for women in it.
Noreen Zayna Barlas
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
Absolutely beautiful. With a personal interest in the world of sufism, I deeply appreciated the "sacred" being human, being filled with nuances and the imperfection being the ultimate form of love.
The characters are loveable and unforgettable.
Carolyn Young
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story starts with the birth of Nouri. What is notable about his birth is that he is born with 4 ears. Because of his ears he is more sensitive to the comings and goings of the invisible world. On our own spiritual paths we experience them a day at a time. With the story of Nouri we experience the extreme ups and downs of his journey in a compact period of time. Sometimes harsh and other times painful, this is story of one man in search of the truth on the Sufi path.
Elise
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Poet of the Invisible World is a gorgeously written coming of age story that will transport you to the 13th century Middle East and Spain, a mysterious world where you will want to get lost. The story was so compelling that I read most of it in one day. Nouri, the protagonist of this tale, is born with four ears. Is this a sign of the devil's curse (as is the consensus of most of Nouri's contemporaries), or is the accute sense of hearing it offers him a gift from Allah (as Sufi Sheik Bailiri b ...more
Nina
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I know I need to pull my weight around here and write some reviews or I run the grave risk of being defriended.

This book is filled with lovely prose and makes me wish I knew a little more about Islamic Sufism. It's certainly not a plot line you're likely to encounter again. Set in medieval Persia, the book's protagonist Nouri is born to a beautiful woman who risks her life to flee her home when the villagers suspect evil spirits are behind Nouri's unusual disfigurement. He lands literally in th
...more
Barbara
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Written at a lovely pace that unfolds the story to draw the reader in, this book is a gentle meditation on life, on striving to be better than human and yet accept ourselves with our flaws in order to transcend them. It was calming to read, with the main character, Nouri, a peaceful guide.

I didn't glean any nuggets of enlightenment for myself from it, but enjoyed the journey nonetheless.
Cassandra
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Quick read, interesting subject but not all that inventive and poor character
Development, good for a "beach read" or plane flight where you don't have to really pay attention
Bryce Van Vleet
If Khaled Hosseini, Paulo Coelho, and Hermann Hesse had a gay child together, it'd likely produce A Poet of the Invisible World . Through beautiful prose, and an epic, winding plot, Mochael Golding tells the life-story of Nouri Ahmad Mohammad ibn Mahsoud al-Morad, a Persian boy born with four ears. After both parents die, Nouri is taken into a Sufi order and begins training under dervishes. As time passes, the boy with four ears treks across barren landscapes, over oceans, and through villages big and small, on a p ...more
Terry
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
As I was reading, I realized that this was a story about how this kid became a Sufi poet — like Rumi! And I was excited to find things out about the calligraphy in all the Islamic artworks in the shows at the local Islamic Cultural Center, and about whirling dervishes, and about how, possibly, Rumi came to create his own poems. And even though I avidly read the book last night, even during the intermission of a play I was attending, I started to feel like something wasn’t adding up. Like Golding ...more
Glenna Barlow
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book on a whim but when the first quote on the back was from the author of the book I was reading at the time it seemed like a promising omen. this is a captivating story beautifully told, all about love and letting go as told through the journeys of nouri and his foil sharoud. though nouri's path is often shaped by extraordinary circumstances the periods of doubt and loss he goes through are universal.
Alan Newman
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Engrossing Bildungsroman about the spiritual journey of Nouri, its protagonist, from his begginings as a foundling to becoming a Sufi master in the Muslim world of the 13th C. Deals with self acceptance, overcoming loneliness and discrimination and the conflict between the baser instincts of humanity and the quest for spiritual wholeness and purity
Frankie Skripal
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this a couple months ago. When I was done, I felt like it left something to be desiered. However, as I go on with my daily life, I find myself reliving parts of the book. I think about the main character a lot actually and the things he has gone through to get to where he is. I would recomend this book to someone.
Of the Icebox
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I agree with others that the last few chapters were rushed but otherwise, this was a very enjoyable novel. In style, it reminded me of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's something of a pseudo-spiritual, almost-mythical, borderline-epic tale of Nouri's growth.

-EM
Jai
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, read2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Started out very engaging but quickly became boring with too many lengthy religious descriptions
Roselyn
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
nothing
nothing
nothing
nothing
Barry
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Learned a lot about the Sufi religion in the complexity of life the different chapters
Samantha
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I'm kind of between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I enjoyed it and found parts of it quite moving. It perhaps lacked some depth. It's been compared to Siddhartha which I've been meaning to read since high school but haven't gotten around to. From what I do know about Hesse I imagine it's not a fair comparison. A Poet of the Invisible World did remind me of Leo Africanus, which I really enjoyed. The two inhabit the same general milieu, and are picaresque in nature. A Poet of the Invisible World is more about a spiritual journey, ...more
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MICHAEL GOLDING was born in Philadelphia and educated at Duke, Oxford, and the University of California at Irvine. He began his career as an actor, appearing in numerous Off-Broadway shows. His first novel, SIMPLE PRAYERS, was published in 1994 and has been translated into nine foreign languages. BENJAMIN’S GIFT, his second novel, was published in 1999. His translation of Alessandro Baricco’s stag ...more
“The journey was thrilling. Inspiring. Exalting. And, in the end, it did not change a thing. “You would never have believed me if I’d told you,” said Sheikh al-Khammas. “You had to learn the truth for yourself: the real Holy City is within.” 2 likes
“As Nouri entered the sacred space, he could feel his breath catch and a shiver run down his spine. The floor was lined with fine woven carpets, the walls were graced with filigreed windows, and the dome—which spread out over their heads—was richly painted with flowers and leaves and suns and moons and stars. But what thrilled Nouri the most was the fact that wherever he looked—on the walls—on the doors—on the frieze that ran in a circle beneath the dome—were the most exquisitely calligraphed words.” 1 likes
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