Eye of the Kite

Eye of the Kite Cover

Publishing House: Rashm Publishing and Distribution

Publication Year: 2023

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 600

“Eye of the Kite” by Saudi author Saleh Al-Hamad, a captivating novel that has made its way to the 2024 Arabic Booker Prize Longlist, unfolds the gripping tale of Wa’il, a young man in his twenties. Set against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia, the story navigates through the intense and complex life of Wa’il, who faces a death sentence for the murder of his girlfriend, Ghada. The novel’s timeline is tightly bound to the 30 days leading up to his execution, creating a sense of urgency and introspection as it counts down the days and hours.

Al-Hamad masterfully traces Wa’il’s journey from his teenage years to his university days in California and finally to his last moments in prison. Through this journey, the novel delves deep into Wa’il’s internal struggles, exploring the roots of his violent behavior and the significance of the number 26 tattooed on his arm. The narrative intricately examines his relationships – the dynamic and forceful Ghada, his authoritarian father whose declining health alters their relationship, his cousin Salman who stands in stark contrast to him, his sister Arij who oscillates between tenderness and opposition, and his mother, a subtle yet influential presence in his life.

The novel transcends a mere crime story, venturing into existential and philosophical realms. It probes into themes of faith, justice, love, friendship, guilt, forgiveness, and the human relationship with death. As Wa’il grapples with these concepts, the story invites readers to ponder the relentless search for meaning in life, even in the face of impending death.

“Eye of the Kite” is not just a story of a young man’s plight but a broader exploration of the human psyche. The narrative’s sensory richness and cinematic techniques bring to life the conservative Saudi household, revealing its secrets and nuances. The novel also interweaves a magical and metaphysical quality, where every aspect of Wa’il’s world is imbued with a dark, introspective gaze that delves into the fragmented dreams and shattered visions of a tormented soul. In its exploration of Wa’il’s life and psyche, the novel presents a complex tapestry of pain and repression transformed into a symbolic, coded language etched on the skin, leaving readers to unravel its profound mysteries.

“Eye of the Kite” offers an incisive look into the human soul, where its gaze ignites fires and leaves a trail of sorrow. The narrative evokes a blend of pity and perplexity in the reader, showcasing Al-Hamad’s prowess in capturing the intricacies of human emotions and experiences.

Read More About Saleh Al-Hamad

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