This book impressed me in many ways, because no matter how Africa had been presented to us by different authors, this novel has peeled all the layers to show itself as raw as it gets. We could say that the story of Yusuf, the protagonist, is heartbreaking, a story that was based on pure abandonment and solitude. Yusuf was neglected by their parents, handled to a business man to whom they had debt, without even explaining the situation. That was their payment. ‘Uncle Aziz’ was to take Yusuf to his house to make him work to repay. He was 12.
This book fell in my hands as a simple coincidence. It was a gift. I’ve heard about Siddhartha, of course, but never expected a book to be so deeply grounded and at the same time so ethereal. Paulo Coelho, one of my favourite authors and who made introductions for this book, explains the troubles Herman Hesse —the German born author— had to go through in order to complete this book. When reading it, one can decipher why: This is a book about illumination, of looking for the One and Only, and finding It through the inner self. Of acknowledging the internal divinity, the infinite possibilities that connect the Universe with every human being. Hesse had discussed with acquaintances about his lack of guidance on how to finish the book. The task he had on his hands was too great and proved of enormous challenges.