The Broken Wings
by Kahlil Gibran
Paperback, 132 pages
Published on: January 1st 1912
“Solitude has soft, silky hands, but with strong fingers it grasps the heart and makes it ache with sorrow.” Kahlil Gibran, Broken Wings
This is the exquisitely tender story of a love that beats desperately against the taboos of Oriental tradition. With great sensitivity and lyricism, Gibran describes his passion as a youth for Selma Karamy, the beautiful girl of Beirut who first unfolded to him the secrets of love. But it is a love that is doomed by a social convention which forces Selma into marriage with another man.
This was the first book I read that had been written by Kahlil Gibran. It was truly a touching and delightful piece of writing. The book was basically written in Arabic as Gibran was actually a Lebanese but translating this work into English is one of the greatest gifts to mankind. Though written in prose, it reads like poetry.
The opening lines of the book say “I was eighteen years of age when love opened my eyes with its magic rays and touched my spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers and Selma Karamy was the first woman who awakened my spirit with her beauty and led me into the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings."
Gibran always wrote short novels, and this one too is a short, but intense read. The sentences are rich with poetic descriptions, and the way author describes nature and love is refreshing, soothing, and beautiful. Though it has this compact size, yet it can give you the feel that a mammoth of a book cannot.
Portraying the exalted happiness and infinite sorrow of his relationship with Selma, Gibran at the same time probes the spiritual meaning of human existence with profound compassion. And he does so in a poetic prose that has magic and majesty. The descriptions, the metaphors, the words are absolutely wonderful. There couldn’t be anyone other than Kahlil Gibran, who could create such magic with his work.
This book is about love, holding on and letting go. This is a very simple story of the love between Gibran and Selma but, believe me, it will leave your heart wrenched. With every other line in the book, I could get the meaning of the world. In this, his story of his first love, the author presents a completely non-sexual romance with the utmost intense emotion.
In the book, Gibran talks of love, plight of women, hypocrisy, false values on which human societies are built, and true prayer and sacrifice. And all is told in very few majestically beautiful words without malice to anyone. It is about a world where loving someone is prohibited, and those who love are looked down upon.
I could feel Gibran’s pain, I could feel the helplessness of Selma, I could feel the sense of duty that Selma’s father felt, I could feel the possessiveness that Selma’s husband had. Though Gibran was supposed to give only the idea of his pain, he has very sincerely shown the monologue related to the others.
Gibran was not just yet another writer, he was a great philosopher. There’s no such part in the book where I would disagree with his philosophy of love. I remember reading this book when I was down with severe fever in the bed. But I couldn’t stop reading.
I have hardly seen anyone who has read The Broken Wings and didn’t love it and didn’t feel bad about their lost love.
If you have ever loved someone or lost him/her somehow, you will connect with it. And if you have not loved, you will know what it feels being in love.
Review originally published on: http://vaultofbooks.com/aplus/reviewthe-broken-wings