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A Poet of the Invisible World: A Novel by…
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A Poet of the Invisible World: A Novel

by Michael Golding

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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. A story for the ages. I had tears in my eyes at Part 6: the last few chapters. The story came full circle.

I felt that Nouri's four ears were symbolic--say, of him as outcast. I learned something of Sufism. The author's concept reminded me somewhat of Buddhism, as the material world with its "veils" separating mankind from God [or the Buddhist "enlightenment", perhaps]. Most of the characters were two dimensional, other than Nouri himself. I appreciated the glossary of Persian foods, but wished there had been another glossary of other italicized terms for non-Muslims. ( )
  janerawoof | Dec 19, 2015 |
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 phase of his life. The blurb for this book invites the comparison with Siddhartha which is quite a dangerous thing. I found this book interesting and beautiful but it is no Siddhartha. It does not have the beautiful repetitive simple prose of Hesse.

The main character happens to be gay, and though some important elements of the plot would not have been possible if that were not true, Nouri's sexuality isn't a major element of the book. ( )
  marq | Nov 30, 2015 |
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"A Poet of the Invisible World is the story of 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 is placed upon a path towards spiritual awakening. He studies the Koran and the principles of Sufism. He meets his first love, a handsome youth named Vishpar. When marauders attack the lodge, however, he's swept off to a series of grueling adventures and an assortment of shifting roles: tea boy in the court of a Spanish sultan, shepherd on a barren farm in the mountains, sybarite in a bustling city on the north coast of Africa. As he stumbles from one painful experience to the next, he grows into manhood. And when fate leads him to a Sufi order perched high in the mountains, he's ready to begin the true work of spiritual development. Now the tests are more subtle: the animosity of a fellow Sufi who has dogged him since childhood, a love affair with an acolyte who's been brought under his wing. But each trial shatters another obstacle within--and leads him on toward transcendence. - A beautiful gift package, with french flaps and deckle edge - For readers of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, and Paolo Coelho"--… (more)

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