- € 9,99
My dear Marwan, I look at your profile in the glow of this moon, my boy, your eyelashes like calligraphy, closed in guileless sleep. And I say to you, 'Hold my hand. Nothing bad will happen.'
On a moonlit beach a father speaks to his sleeping son of his childhood days, recalling his grandfather's house outside Homs in Syria, the stirring of olive trees in the breeze, the bleating of his grandmother's goat. And he remembers Homs, the bustling city with its crowded lanes, its mosque and grand souk, before the sky spat bombs and they had to flee.
When dawn breaks they and those around them will embark on a perilous sea journey in search of a new home.
Hosseini (The Kite Runner) says he was compelled to write about the refugee crisis after seeing the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian who drowned off the coast of Turkey in 2015. Yet Hosseini's story, aimed at readers of all ages, does not dwell on nightmarish fates; instead, its emotional power flows from the love of a father for his son. Written as a letter, the father begins slowly, recalling for his son, Marwan, the beauty of the Syrian town of Homs as it once was ("We woke in the mornings/ to the stirring of olive trees in the breeze"), then describing the war that destroyed it ("First came the protests./ Then the siege"). Now Marwan and his family sit on a beach, waiting for a boat. The father reassures Marwan: "Hold my hand./ Nothing bad will happen." Inside, though, he is in turmoil: "These are only words... all I can think tonight is/ how deep the sea,/ and how vast, how indifferent." In Williams's loosely stroked ink-and-wash spreads, the corals and greens of the Syrian countryside give way to war's gray shadows and the sea's blue hues. Expansive views of sky and water both temper the text's emotional build and render the figures in them small and fragile. Together, the evocative illustrations and graceful, compelling prose make it clear that Marwan and his parents have no choice but to trust the sea. Ages 7 up.