February 26, 2024

“A Balcony on Nothingness”: How Can One Become Free?

A Balcony on Nothingness Review

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All forms of artistic expression, spanning from music and visual arts to theater and cinema, and extending to the art of short stories and novels, inherently seek to address and explore the question of freedom. There is no artistic work that is devoid of this inquiry—how can one become free? How does one live in freedom? Can it truly be achieved? But what is the concept of freedom? These intertwined questions are essential, and human reality urgently requires answers.

In the novel “A Balcony on Nothingness” by the Saudi writer Ibrahim Al-Makrami, published by “Dar Athar for Publishing and Distribution” (Saudi Arabia), the author presents an engaging and concise artistic work that is not exempt from these complex questions, questions that, as mentioned before, have confronted all artists who have walked upon this earth. All of this unfolds within a mere 80 pages, with the novel using the question of freedom as a window that does not gaze into nothingness but earnestly seeks an answer—how can a person become free?

The novel commences with an intensely peculiar and profound scene of a man being restrained, bound, and arrested. This man is nameless, faceless, and we know nothing about him—neither his characteristics nor his appearance, not even the reason for his arrest. Strangely, he himself remains unaware of the true reason behind this confinement throughout the novel. To the extent that readers might momentarily believe that this shackled man, unknown in name or form, was born in such a state, bound and entrapped.

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