About The Book:
The book was written in 1912, Gibran dedicated the book to Mary Elizabeth Haskell, a woman he had fallen in love with. The story is not real, but it expresses what Gibran thinks of unfruitful pure love. Gibran told Mary that he creates his novel characters and all the events from scratch, reminding her all the time that during writing the book he had always thought of her, and that’s how he considered Mary a mother for the book somehow.
The broken wings is considered the first Arabic novel written in the modern time, and it came 2 years earlier than other novels written by other Arab writers at that time.
The hero of the story is a young man who’s 18 years old, he narrates the events of the story, and the heroen is a young woman called Salma Karama, who’s 20 years old. The young man visits his friend who tells him about Faris Karama, a very respectable rich old man and his daughter Salma. Faris Karama happens to be the young man’s father’s friend in their youth. Later the young man visits Faris Karama who was always happy about his visits as he reminds him of his old friend, and there he meets Salma and from the first meeting they fall in love with one another, feeling that their souls happen to understand each other without having to talk.
Their true pure love is fruitless because Salma is forced to marry the Bishop’s nephew, without her father’s genuine approval, but rather pressured by the society, because no one can go against the Bishop or any other man with power. Salma’s life turns into a misery after her marriage, while the young man suffers the loss of his beloved girl.
Salma hopes to die as a salvation from her marriage, but suddenly she is in front of a new dilemma which is her father’s sickness and later his death, which leaves her facing her problems and agonies without a back bone, meanwhile she meets with her lover at her father’s house, before losing her father, after a long period of time of not seeing one another, who stands for her to face the reality of losing her only family member, her father.
her loneliness led her to start meeting with the young man secretly in an abandoned temple, where they talk about random subjects and share their sorrows, worries and hopes. Later their meetings started making her husband suspicious, and so she had no choice but to stop going to their secret meetings, and rather sacrifice to keep the young man safe, but the young man asks her to run away with him in a ship, where they can start a new life, but she refuses and chooses to go back to her husband’s house.
Salma continues to struggle against reality and her dreams until she gets pregnant, but as soon as she delivers her baby, the baby dies and she dies right afterwards, getting the salvation she always dreamed of.
Knowing Gibran Khalil couldn’t marry the love of his life, Mary Haskell because of her parent’s refusal, makes me understand this book of his, as he, as known, doesn’t like man made rules, simply because to him they are only man made rules, and saw them as silly, ridiculous and restricting thoughts that people follow and keep.
The story is truly sad and tragic, and paints endlessly a pure love between two. Gibran, with all the metaphors and figures of speech in the book, shows the reader what he thinks and how he feels about a genuine love between a man and a woman, and the union of two souls, regardless of whether or not they end up being together.
The Broken Wings is not just a novel, but rather a piece of art, where he shows the readers and the critics his Arabic language skills, and his knowledge of history, religions and other cultures.
If this is taken as a piece of art then it’s an excellent way of spending time, it’s also a very good food for thought, plus it’s a good way of reminding ourselves of the purity of ourselves and our souls. But if this is read to be criticized, then it can be easily criticized as too romantic to be true.
I recommend reading this book, better be in Arabic, since it’s the language Gibran used to write this book, if not possible then in any language available. The book is worth giving it a chance!