Every once and a while, I read a book that really makes me stop and think, makes me reflect on who I am and where I am and why I think about things. Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini is one of those books. I was looking forward to it because I have loved every novel Hosseini has published (and I’m not alone in that) and while I count a couple of them on my favourite books list, Sea Prayer was different, special.
The story is beautiful and heartbreaking, a father’s prayer to his son as they embark on a journey so many have done before – the journey of refugees. It is also beautifully illustrated which brought the story to life and for me, perhaps gave me even more to think about. We live in the era of the 24-hour news cycle that is often dominated by the latest and the loudest thing. And so often that cycle hits me, often emotionally but so much happens so quickly that it’s often hard to dwell on something for a long time. Sea Prayer gave me pause because the rapidly changing cycle means stories can easily be forgotten or remembered, but not kept at the surface.
Sea Prayer is more than just a prayer for the journey the father and his family are on; it’s also a reflection of all that they’ve lost. The story, which perhaps is more like a poem, was almost overwhelming when I really thought about it and put it in the context of all that is going on in the world today. I felt sad and angry at the injustice of it but also felt grateful to live where I live – and how unfair that some of us are so lucky because of where we are born.
Sea Prayer is a short book but so meaningful I read it twice in one sitting and I know that I’ll revisit it because I think we all need to be reminded that at the heart of what goes on around the world are humans and their experiences matter more than anything.
Hosseini is donating the author proceeds from the sale of this book to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and to The Khaled Hosseini Foundation. There are so many reasons to read this book.