“As for embarrassment, I am way beyond that. On the other side of the wall of humiliation is liberation.”
Declan stared, “Kahlil Gibran or refrigerator magnet?” ~Christopher Buckley, Supreme Courtship
Well, making little headway with another book for Helen’s Middle East Reading Challenge (which is still ongoing through the summer, and has no book limit, so check it out), I moved The Prophet to the top of my TBR pile. I’d read some reviews about this book, both positive and negative, and I really didn’t know what to expect. So I tried to go at it with an open mind.
But I also understand where Buckley was coming from with the refrigerator magnet quip.
Gibran focuses on dualities throughout the essays. The aphorisms come fast and furious in this short text:
“To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean by the frailty of its foam.”
“Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?”
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
Overall, this is a lovely book. I can see why it came from a Lebanese author: it celebrates the humanistic convergence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, and Lebanon was blessed to have large populations of Christians, Jews and Muslims living together for so much of its history. I liked it, but it was a bit much as a book – it would have been smarter to read the essays one at a time, like meditations to start or end the day. Still, it’s a classic for a reason, and if you haven’t read it, you really should.
You’ll get the jokes. But you might also get inspired.
So I have finally added to my Middle East Reading Challenge total: I’ve made it to four. Thanks so much to Helen for hosting! I still want to finish an Israeli title before July, and any suggestions would be welcome!