In Michael Golding’s A Poet of the Invisible World, we embark on the spiritual journey of Nouri Ahmad Mohammad ibn Mahsoud al-Morad. Born in 13th century Persia and with four ears, Nouri lands in the hands of a Sufi order after his mother flees with him as an infant, fearing that her son would meet his demise if he were to stay in their small village. As Nouri grows up, the order quickly finds that he is gifted with the talent of verse and that he has an affinity to the spiritual world, thus begins his journey. Along the way, Nouri is met with many obstacles and transformations, getting lost and finding himself many times before his journey ends.
In all honesty, beginning the novel I was quite wary. I have never been particularly religious in any way or form so when the thought of reading a book about someone’s spiritual journey, I had the preconceived belief that I would dislike the novel. However, despite a rocky beginning, I found that I was completely entranced in the world and characters Golding has created.
I found myself loving the novel. First and foremost, Nouri is such an interesting character and not only because he has four ears, although that does get his foot through the door. When the story begins, Nouri is just a curious boy. He enjoys the living with the Sufi order and is interested in becoming closer to God. Throughout the novel, his experiences make him lose his way but it’s easy to root for him to get back on his path. One of my favorite things about Nouri is that although he is seen as a spiritual prodigy, he is still very human. He has feelings and desires that are sometimes too strong for him to control and because of this, Nouri is all that much more relatable.
Another thing I find fascinating about this Golding’s novel is its genre: magic realism. Before now, I had never heard the term but the genre intrigues me. Magic realism is a genre that accepts magical elements in the real and rational world. In regards to his work, Golding stated, “That’s the wonder of magic realism, that things that are metaphors are also grounded in actual events.”
“Sometimes, when things are most confused, a light penetrates the dark and grace is restored.”
And most likely the most important thing of the novel is its message. When asked what he would have liked readers to get out of reading the novel, Golding answered, “Life is a journey. Celebrate the unfolding of your life.” And I completely agree. The events in your life that you experience may not always be good ones but at the end of the day, it’s going to contribute to who you are. Nouri’s life wasn’t always easy and he’d certainly faced much more adversity than the average person but he never gave up but instead embraced life no matter where it took him. He found himself through all the hardships and that is a beautiful message to come across.
For tips and advice from Michael Golding about writing, click here.
About the author
Michael Golding is an adjunct professor at Yuba College. Before becoming a writer, Golding was an actor living in New York. He also teaches English at the Sutter Campus and is also the author of Simple Prayers and Benjamin’s Gift. Some of his favorite writers include Shakespeare and Toni Morrison. A Poet of the Invisible World, released October 6, 2015, is published under Picador. You can find out more about Michael Golding at – http://michaelgoldingwriter.com
Note: This article was featured in the Fall 2015 print edition of The Prospector