Indeed, if you want to understand what's going on in the world at this moment, you could certainly do worse than to read Maalouf on the past.
In The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, for example - a book Blair and Bush might do well to read - Maalouf argues that the great divide between east and west occurred at the Crusades, when Arabs became identified as victims and the west became identified with all the forces of progress and modernity.
Hence, fundamentalism - I'm simplifying here, obviously. Maalouf does not. First published in France in , the book seems resonant with all those millennial excitements and anxieties that may now seem distant, but which still find an echo in our own fears of impending world crisis. Maalouf wastes no time, offering his set-up on page 1: "That strange book, appearing and disappearing, and all my fault.
Old Idriss's death. And the journey I'm to set out on next Monday, despite my qualms. The narrator is Balthasar Embriaco, a Levantine merchant who runs a little curio shop, "the best stocked and and most celebrated in the east for a hundred years". Balthasar sets out on a long journey with his two nephews - the scholarly Jaber who revels in arcane literature "as if in the most delicious sweetmeats" and the womanising Habib - and the "pert" and "wilful" Marta.
Together this group of misadventurers travel the known world, attempting to track down one of the rarest books ever printed, Abu-Maher al-Mazandarani's The Unveiling of the Hidden Name, also known as "The Hundredth Name". In Islam there are 99 names for God: to know the th is to ensure one's salvation. Impressive expression as always from Amin Maalouf. Dec 19, Hadi rated it liked it.
This is a really strange book. When I read it I enjoyed it, but when I put it down I didn't feel the need to pick it up again. Consequently it took me 3 sittings spread over 12 weeks to get to the end. Why should this be? I think because there's nothing compelling in the story that drives it forward. There is only Balthasar who - in the middle of the world-may-end, just-met-the-love-of-life, and how-many-fantastical-things-can-happen-to-one-man - adventures just doesn't quite make it off the pag This is a really strange book.
There is only Balthasar who - in the middle of the world-may-end, just-met-the-love-of-life, and how-many-fantastical-things-can-happen-to-one-man - adventures just doesn't quite make it off the page to feel real. He's more likeable at the beginning of the book than the end view spoiler [ he abandons Marta, his nephews and his servant; gives away The Book that started the whole thing; and decides to marry the yr old daughter of his Genoan host hide spoiler ].
So a pleasant book at the start, meanders a bit in the middle and a very unsatisfactory ending. But the writing has charm and I enjoyed the parade of characters he encounters, although the folks who kept inviting him for supper, lending him money, offering him a rent-free house added to the fable-like feeling. A wonderfully written historical novel. An adventure about beliefs - choices, decisions and of course, fates. Don't expect to find answers in this book but questions, that some of us may not admit to have been asked within ourselves.
Read it with an open mind. A good read. May 15, Zahrah Awaleh rated it really liked it Recommends it for: anyone. Amin does it again: he takes you on a whirlwind tour of the emigrant protaganist who is searching for the divine text that will save mankind; no mean feat! In the midst of this are questions of identity, home and love. For anyone who has a heart. An incomparably absorbing read.
Fewer things are better than the books that find you. Religious esoterica: check. Travel and adventure: check. Maalouf is an acclaimed Lebanese author an Fewer things are better than the books that find you. Maalouf is an acclaimed Lebanese author and writes with a French-Arab magical realist style that is just about perfect. But on the second day, I found his Samarkand and given that Balthasar's Odyssey is a book about a the search for books, I took it as a sign.
Feb 01, Iulia Kelemen rated it liked it. Baldassare Embriaco is on a quest for sure. Widower, 40 and well-to-do, what is he looking for? Is it a book? Is it love? Is it truth, meaning, knowledge? Is it his own self? Happiness, excitement? Whatever it is he's looking for, he does it without enthusiasm, even without determination and courage.
He's pushed and thrown from one place to another against his will while still fighting to appear as if mastering the situation. Opportunities chase him as much as misfortunes and he's trying to hide Baldassare Embriaco is on a quest for sure. Opportunities chase him as much as misfortunes and he's trying to hide from both.
No enjoyment and no opposing. Others write his story for him from beginning till end and he abandons himself in an undeserved, coincidental, potentially blessed state of facts. Jun 17, Fabrice44 rated it it was ok. I will start this review by saying I'm a huge fan of Amin Maalouf. This is one of my favorite author and I read most of his books. This one is the worst one I read. And from far. I don't know what happened. Plot is really bad, main character is a joke maybe the book is supposed to be funny and there is a lot of weird side story.
Don't read this book if you want to discover M Maalouf. My first and definitely not the last of Amine Maalouf A fascinating book A deep one which will not leave you indifferent Highly recommend to discover. Jun 18, Janet Panter rated it really liked it.
Balthasar's Odyssey: Nama Tuhan yang Keseratus
I found this quite heavy going and almost gave up on it after the first 50 pages or so but I quite enjoyed it, apart from the disappointing ending, which was not what I was expecting. May 14, Gabriel rated it it was amazing. Absolutely fantastic. This book is on my favorites list. Jun 10, Didier Vanoverbeke rated it it was ok. Pros lax zest, story to formulaic. A page turner to be sure, but rather frivolous. Oct 22, Ri rated it it was ok Shelves: required-reading , school-reads. This story has it all; sympathetic characters, interesting times and places, and a mysterious book It also shows a time with more tolerance in the Middle East.
Christians, Jews and Muslims living together almost peacefully, as Brothers of the Book. This beautiful greeting between people of different believes will stay with me for a long time: -When religion preaches hate, blessed be the doubters. It's enough to make anyone wistful.
Jul 28, Steve Cran rated it it was amazing. The story starts off in Gibelet, which is a city located in Ottoman Syria.
ziwopycaxa.tk : Balthasar's odyssey () : Amin Maalouf : Books
Balthasar's neighbor diies leaving him with the book. Shortly after recieving the book a French diplomat acciedentally finds it asnd wants to buy it. Balthasr cannot decl The story starts off in Gibelet, which is a city located in Ottoman Syria. Balthasr cannot decline the Frenchamn's offer so he sell it to hiom for florins. Shortly after he regrets the transaction.
So Balthar his two nephew and worker Hatem set off for Constantinople. Later on in their journey they link up with Marta who is supposedly a widow. On the way to Constantinopl;e he is almost knifed by a gang, hides out with muslim mystics and makes several enquiries about the reatre book al the while pretending that Marta is his wife.
In Constaninople Balthasatr and Marta enquire about her lonmg lost husband and Balthasar explores the local bookshops. WHile visiting a European owned bookshop a fire breaks out and everyone accuses Balthasar is accused by the town of starting the fire. He seeks refuge in the3 house of a Turksih nobleman who cons him out of alot of money.
In errant frustration he sets off for Smyrna where the legend is rampant of a Jewish Messiah named Shabbtai Tzvi. Thanks to this jewish Mesiah many people in the Ottoman empire have stopped working. Shabbtais influence on the Jewish community is far from positive. THe community is very divided about how to recieve this man.. Late he challenges the sultan by saying that the Syultan wil submit to his leadership, While in Smyrna they find out that Martta's husband is living like a king in Chios and made his money by being a bandit. The next leg of their journey takes them to that island.
Marta is under the impression that she is pregant for the two of them have definitely been together. When they find his houise the bandit king abducts her and Balthasr is arrested. Later he is freed and exiled off to Genoa where his family hailed from originally. A genoan named Grigoria takes him in and gives him the provisions that he needss. Grigoria also oferes the 40 year old balthasar huis 13 year old daughter in maraqige.
His journey eventually taakes him to Lon don where the book is tracked down. One of Maaloufs most popular books. From Amazon Maalouf probably one of the most popular writers in the Middle East from Egypt to Turkey gives us another of his historical novels.
Set in a time when many thought the end of the world was iminent something like at the start of the year The story surrounds a Lebanese bookseller who goes out in search of a mysterious book that contains the 'th name' based upon God having 99 names and attributes known to man This myserious th name is a name hidden from man. He travels to Turkey to witness the movement of Sabbetai Sevi whose followers would later be known in Turkey as the 'Donme' then on to Europe where he witnessed the great fire of London.
While some may be critical of some of the historical detial in the novel the strange Muslim sect for example dont seem to have any historical base he is mostly praised for bringing history to life and this book is no exception.
The lives of the people of the time are wonderfully brought to life something no history book could do. Probably a book for the airport while waiting for that flight or sitting on a plane with nothing more than a 9 hour journey to look forward to. Decent read, you will probablyl have it finished in a day, 2 at best but still worth a read.
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Pleasant reading From Amazon It was a pleasant reading. The plot intertwins between Ottoman beauracratic intrigues and personal curiosity. The narrator travels important cities in 17th century and goes through mysterious events. With somewhat magical juxtaposition, the narrator tries to connect those misfortunes that he suffered to the metaphysical book titled 'The Hundredth Name. He faced humiliation, love, betrayal, then fortune again etc. Mediterranean Journey to the Past From Amazon For readers expecting Mediterranean adventures, intertwined with religiously related stories, look no further.
This is a story of a Genoese book trader called Balthasar Embriaco or Baldassarro Embriaco who lived near a southwestern part of Mediterranea. Christianity, Islam and Judaism were part of the everyday life in this plot set sometime between The year was supposedly to be the year of the Beast. This novel was written in a diary style, which the "author", Balthasar, put his daily experiences and thoughts into his dairies.
In fact "he" wrote four diaries during the span of this novel. Summing it up: a romantic novel with a Mediteranean background, which the author exploited quite well, and voyages to London, Lisbon, Paris and other Mediterranean European countries. Maalouf has done an extremely detailed research prior to publishing it.
I enjoyed this book very much, though not the best novel I have read. Thus, a four star. Exchanging views-- a meditation on communication and history.