Friday, October 13, 2006
By Ali Eteraz - alt.muslim
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Irving Karchmar's debut Sufi novel, "Master of the Jinn", heralds the arrival of a fresh literary voice to Islam and America. It also signals the revival of Sufism.
Although initially a bit off-putting due to a narratorial voice that's more Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe), than anything post-modern, this Sufi novel is a subtle creation twelve years in the making. Not a novel; it is layered cake.
For the mystics and the metaphysicians, this story is, through and through, a meditation on Love, the mercy of God, and spiritual discipline. The Sufi Master speaks on matters of the soul with the authority that Zorba the Greek reserved for matters of lust. The journey can be read allegorically, and many secrets meanings may be unearthed in later reads. Occassionally Karchmar gives a hint of the matter being touched upon by dropping quotes from the poetry of innumerable Sufi poets. He also brings in quotations from Plato and the Psalms of David. These quotes were a favorite part of the experience.
The story can also be read as nothing more than an adventure. As such, it can make for interesting bed time reading for children and adults alike. The innocence of Karchmar's writing (his characters sure do weep with joy a lot), suggests that perhaps that there is something important in the adventure worth analyzing.
However, in my opinion, this novel contains far more. I should like to posit that in an age where the primary association of Islam is with rage, Karchmar's novel is a conscious counterbalance to the Zarqawis and al-Sadrs of the world. It seems no accident that the novel is set in Jerusalem, or that the chosen is a former agent of the Mossad (that bugaboo that haunts radical Islam), or that the archaeologist is a holocaust survivor, or that the star of David is a part of the mystery. Karchmar seems to be using theology to open doors.
You can order the book on http://www.masterofthejinn.com or on amazon.com