The first moment of dialogue in the new book by writer Khaled Hosseini ’88 comes near the end of the tale. It is a mother’s voice, remembered by father and shared to son:
“Oh, but if they saw, my darling
Even half of what you have.
If they only saw.
They would say kinder things, surely.”
The child is 3 years old, sleeping. The mother is dead. Her husband—the boy’s father—fled with their son from the Syrian city of Homs, and now the father waits with the boy on the edge of the sea for a boat that will carry them and other refugees from a war-torn home to safety across the water.
This is the story of Sea Prayer. It is a slim volume that is a monologue of father to son: of a home lost—and of memories the boy is too young to carry with him as he grows:
We woke in the mornings
the stirring of olive trees in the breeze,
to the bleating of your grandmother’s goat,
the clanking of her cooking pots
the air and the cool sun
a pale rim of persimmon to the east.
Hosseini’s first three novels—The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed—have been read the world over. More than 50 million copies are in print. He established the Khaled Hosseini Foundation to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. And for years he has served as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and worked with refugees around the world.