[Originally appeared here: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/l…]
For long now, Khaled Hosseini has cemented his position as an author who imparts a subtle yet searing voice to the victims of war, riots and displacement, especially in the Islamic countries. We have clutched our hearts and have sobbed silent tears at his Hassan’s redemption and Mariam’s journey. And Sea Prayer, at its core, harbors a similar cry for life.
A father with his young son, Marwan pressed to his chest, is awaiting a ship that shall take them away from home. Because their home, Syria, has been bombed and violated beyond dignity, the residents must abandon it for dear life. Under the dark clouds of the night, the father casts a nostalgic eye on the glorious days gone by at Homs and prays to instill hope in his young son’s heart, and within himself, despite the circumstances otherwise. The vicious sea finally takes them into its lap and at some long, charcoal horizon, they become one.
Hossieni was inspired to pen ‘Sea Prayer’ when the image of a 3-year old Syrian child, Alan Kurdi, washed ashore in Turkey in 2015, splashed acorss the media. He didn’t make it. And in this poignant account, Hosseini brings to fore, in restrained luminosity, the plights of parents under such calamitous skies.
The appeal of Sea Prayer grows manifold with the marvelous illustrations of Dan Williams. The water-colors capture the spirit of the story in their dainty strokes, blurred outlines and eclectic colors fading into monochromes towards the climax; like life coming to a standstill after wobbling on the pulsing veins of promise.
This is a Hosseini we have never read, and yet, this is, after all, the only Hosseini we know of.