“There are things in life I’ve learned I cannot change: I am an orphan. I grew up in poverty, poverty of the most wretched kind. I shall never forget the fear, the deprivation, the sense of hopelessness. At a young age, I witnessed the horrors of this world; etched in my memory are gruesome, macabre images, images that I cannot erase. For as long as I live, they will always be there—that I know.” These are the words of Ali Iqbal, orphaned at age five, forced to flee his homeland at age nine, abandoned by his foster parents at age eleven. Now happily married and living in America, one night he receives a phone call that throws his world into utter disarray. He must go back to the place of his childhood, to rescue his friend Ahmet—a friend he owes his life to.
The hero of this novel, Ali Iqbal, is scarred by the traumatic events of his past and his heart is full of hate. But he is special: with an intelligence second to none, a talent (painting) that helps him cope with his sorrow and anger, and an ironclad heart that gives him the strength to endure and persevere, he travels from Afghanistan to Turkey and then to America.
This novel is the story of Ali’s transformation. It carries with it a very important message that will resonate meaningfully given the times that we live in: that the Eastern world and Western world can co-exist peacefully; that the cultural, historical and political barriers that separate us are not insurmountable, because it is the humanity within us that makes us who we are.