I’d wanted to read this book since a long time. Few books have garnered the kind of acclaim that 'The Prophet' has. Poetic prose always has a charming ring to it, that is absent in other fictional genres.
The uniqueness of the book lies in the way it is read. It is an easy read, but a deep one at the same time. One cannot just read and turn the page like one does with other fiction. It prompts us to stop and think, taking time to absorb some of the wisdom in the prose.
The backdrop reminds us of that of Plato’s ‘Republic’ for two reasons. The first one is the narrative, in the form of questions and answers. The whole setting where a ‘guru’ preaches to the people, is reminiscent of Socrates, the "master of life," who presents all of Plato's theories.
The second reason and also the most commendable aspect of the book is the range of topics that are elaborated. Most tenets of life that are important to human existence are touched upon. The unique touch is having people of varied backgrounds and professions seeking the insight that is distinct to them and their lives. The quotes have a timeless quality that transcends barriers of geography and culture. Random but important matters pertaining to our lives, such as giving, eating and drinking, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, friendship teaching, beauty, time, pleasure, religion, and even death are elaborated upon by the character, who is the prophet.
The structure of the book has an easy simplicity. Each chapter is devoted to one topic. The chapters are short and succinct. This makes it easy for readers to go back to the book at any point and read one or more chapters without the need to remember where they left off earlier. Every reader is sure to find at least two chapters that would connect to real life experiences.
Another distinctive aspect is the inclusion of pictorial representations, before each chapter begins. These are drawn by the author himself and are meant to add on to the succeeding theme of the chapters.
Overall, it is one of the rare ones that is both religious and spiritual in its essence but highly relatable, even if one is not inclined to be either of them.
I rate the book a 4 out of 5. Hope you found my review useful.
Happy reading, stay safe, readers.
Book photography: Chethana