The first half of this book takes place in the ninth century. It's about the famous Sufi poet Omar Khayyam, and two of his friends/enemies. I kept thinking it was going to have some important things to say about people who want political power vs people who want religious power vs people who just want to write poems and drink wine. It didn't really, but I still liked it. It made me want to go to Iran, especially Esfahan, and there were some lines I liked:
"I despise the zeal of the devout, but I have never said that the One was two."
"What do you want me to say? These things are veiled, and you and I are on the same side of the veil. When it falls, we will no longer be here."
"My God, you know that I have sought to perceive you as much as I could. Forgive me if my knowledge of you has been my only path towards you!"
The book isn't as Serious as those quotes might make it sound, and the second half is even less Serious. It's an adventure story about trying to recover a manuscript of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyaat during Iran's Consitutional Revolution of 1905, and it ends, sort of annoyingly, with the sinking of the Titanic. The bookstore here has several of Maalouf's other books available in English, and I'll probably read them soon.
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY: IN THAT ORDER
other books I read this month:
SABBATH AS RESISTANCE - Walter Brueggemann