Sea Prayer – Khaled Hosseini

Hello Loves!

Hope you’re all well and enjoying kicking up the leaves that Autumn is kindly offering us.

Today, I want to share with you a book I saw, bought and read after work yesterday. After a really long, difficult week, I decided to treat myself to a hot chocolate and a little read so headed to my sanctuary: Waterstones. I saw this book in the window and decided it was time to read it. Thank goodness I did. I soon realised that my long and difficult week was just that, only a week, a moment. Not a lifetime.

What’s it all about?

In less than fifty pages, this book has made me question so many things: life, attitudes, the world. This poignant and powerful book is a collaborative piece between Hosseini and Dan Williams. The illustrations are stunning and harrowing, just like the words within.

Written as a response to the refugee crisis, Hosseini has given a voice to the thousands of people who made the same journey from war torn Syria across the Mediterranean Sea to safety. Unfortunately, as we all know too well, thousands did not survive.

Structured as a letter from a father to his son, the night before their journey, this book starts with memories of their past, safe life in Homs. Memories of family members, the animals, the sounds of the city are all shared, creating this beautiful homage to their old life. However, this is something the son, Marwan, cannot remember.

‘But that life, that time, seems like a dream now, even to me…’

The illustrations then become much darker in hue, the words more troubled to show that life has changed. References to the protests, the siege and bombs dropping on their beloved city. Sadly, this is what Marwan knows; what he has grown up seeing on a daily basis. He and many other innocent children.

‘You have learned dark blood is better news than light.’

It is the night before their journey and on a moonlit beach people agonisingly and nervously wait for the morning. Yet, fear of what is waiting for them at the other side is also on their minds. Hosseini references the attitudes reported, the fact that they are ‘unwelcome’ and ‘uninvited’. Sadly, I too have heard reactions like this. It is answered from the words of the mother, making it, in my opinion, all the more heart breaking. The role of the mother is to nurture and protect, to understand.

‘Oh, but if they saw, my darling, even half of what you have. If only they saw. They would say kinder things, surely.’

Everyone prays for their safety, well aware of how deep and large the sea is. Everyone knows the risk they are taking. But it’s the only option. The Sea Prayer is exactly that, a prayer to keep them safe at sea. As parents, they are powerless, their protection cannot deter great seas. But they need safety.

‘Because you, you are precious cargo, Marwan, the most precious there ever was.’

The final two pages, blank and harshly white, are where Hosseini declares what inspired this moving book.

‘Alan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach safety in Europe in September 2015.’

Yet, it wasn’t just this little boy. It was 4,176 other lives that were taken in that same year.


It is when I stop and think about that statistic that I really consider the world we live in today. Nobody should have to live in a place where they don’t feel safe. That little boy, like the many other little boys and girls deserve to know the good of the world like we do.

This book is easily the most beautiful in so many ways. Firstly, the illustrations are sublime. But it is so much more than that. It book shows life before the hell, it shows people’s strength and it teaches us all a lesson. We must care more about each other.

With that, I’m off to hug someone I care about because we are so lucky we have the lives we do.

Big love to you all. Xx



Filed under Book review, Books, New Books, Reading

29 responses to “Sea Prayer – Khaled Hosseini

  1. A heart-wrenching and moving review… my rush of thoughts and to-dos have stalled when I read this. The cover of the book grabbed my attention to start with and the illustrations are superb and beautiful. The events are beyond belief, and yes, not only atale/letter in memory of this one boy but of all those who have died, suffered. Thank you so much for sharing this book here – I will look out for it. You’ve given me much to reflect and think about this morning.

    Hope your next week is better for you – then half-term break for you, I assume. Much needed by the sounds of it. Happy weekend and reading. xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • I felt exactly the same. I read it and felt immediately bad for letting something in comparison that is quite trivial effect me for two days. These poor people. It’s incomprehensible really. It’s only a short book but it really packs a punch. It makes you stop and contemplate everything really.
      Two weeks until half term – much needed, counting down the days. Lots of reading planned. It’s good for the soul.
      Have an excellent weekend. Xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my gosh, the story and imagery are compelling. Thank you for putting things in perspective. 🙏🏻🌿🦋

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am Huge Fan Khaled Hosseni Just can’t wait to see this one turns out ♥

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You’re right. Our small problems are nothing compared to the things people who live in unsafe parts of the world must face. And even our bigger problems are small. I didn’t know about this book. The illustrations are also excellent. Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow this book sounds beautiful!! Going straight on my to buy list! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds like such a beautiful book. I love Khaled Hosseini in general and the illustrations for this just look gorgeous. Wonderful review! 😀 ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great, thrift m thought provoking post Charley. Bug hugs to you and much love 🙂


  8. Khaled Hosseini’s books are intense, I have read three of them but not this one. Also this seems to be his first book with illustrations. Thank you for this compelling review.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Will offer Sea Prayers as a #mustread to our local book club tonight, Robbie. Thanks so much for sharing. Khaled Hosseini is one of my favorite contemporary writers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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