In a net shell, a very emotional novel by amazing author.
This book can be named as an autobiography of first and last love of Kahlil Gibran the great philosopher who met a girl named Selma Keremy at Beirut, Lebanon. This was love at first sight. Selma is a young beautiful girl as a picture of Beirut who is as still as a Pond, as deep as an Ocean, as lively as Life. It is filled with friendship, love, power struggle and pain and suffering that comes along with any human relationship.
I consider it to be a very personal book by Gibran. As he says, "I was eighteen years of age when love opened my eyes with its magic rays and touched my spirit for the first time with its fiery fingers and Selma Karamy was the first woman who awakened my spirit with her beauty and led me into the garden of high affection, where days pass like dreams and nights like weddings."
It starts when Kahlil goes to Lebanon for an outing and meets his father's old pal Farris Effandi Keremy. Farris is quite old age and very gentle and kind and has lost his wife when Selma was in her adolescent stage. He invites Kahlil to his house. One evening Kahlil goes there and meets a beautiful girl Selma who is Farris's daughter.
Selma is as gentle and kind as her father. Bishop Bulos Galib is a powerful man in the local society who controls the locales as he wishes. For name sake he is a Bishop but he is a very cunning and wrong doing person. He has a nephew, Mansour Bey Galib, living with him and following his footsteps. Infact Mansour is one step ahead than his uncle. He enjoys wine, girls and all evil doings of the society. Kahlil got stuck to Selma's beauty and calmness and it is "love at first sight".
One evening when Kahlil is sitting at Farris's house, Bishop's man comes to take away Farris as Bishop wants to talk to him on an important issue. Farris tells Kahlil to take care of Selma till he comes back. Kahlil notices both the faces turning pale at the arrival of Bishop's man there. Kahlil and Selma sit in her garden and don't talk much but Kahlil understands that they both are driven by Bishop to some of his ill wishes. When Farris comes back, he tells Kahlil that Bishop wants Selma to be married to Mansour who everyone knows is a bad character. Marriage happens although none of them is happy about it. Farris dies. Selma is childless for five years. And after five years she gives birth to a beautiful boy who dies as soon as he takes birth. Selma also dies. At one moment after Selma's marriage, Kahlil proposes Selma to run away with him to get rid of the tortures of Mansour and Bishop. But unfortunately she refuses and says - "A bird with a broken wing can’t fly too far. "
First, what did I feel after reading it, this is a plain, cool, calm, quite, gentle, tendering, smooth and refreshing love story with a sad end. One dies at the end of the story and is buried, other also dies but lives and delivers the meaning to World. This world is too small but still it takes years to find out your true love. This life is too small but this book teaches you how to make each moment remarkable and memorable. This book tells you how to express yourself without uttering a word and how to listen to the silence. It tells you what does the word "Beloved" means and the meanings of Happiness and Sorrow. It tells how easy it is to understand the true Love and how difficult sometimes it becomes to hold it.
On the other hand, in our century modern civilization has made WOMEN a little wiser, but it has unfortunately increased her suffering because of man's greediness. The woman yesterday was a happy wife but sorrowfully the woman today is a miserable mistress. In the past she walked blindly in the light, but now she walks open-eyed in the dark. She was beautiful in her ignorance, virtuous in her simplicity and strong in her weakness. Today she has become ugly in her ingenuity, superficial and heartless in her knowledge. Will the day ever come when beauty and knowledge, ingenuity and virtue, weakness of body and strength of spirit will be united in a woman"
All in all, it tells Love is like Air, you can't hold it in your hands. You can inhale it inside you, but can't hold it, it goes inside you, generates life in you and goes out. Love is not in acquiring or desire, it is not a kingdom or game that you need to win, but it is a FEELING. It is more in GIVING than TAKING or EXPECTING. Kahlil shares his pure thoughts in this book, and thus reading this book carefully and attentively is important. And if you don't know the meaning of LOVE, check it out, and get the best of the meanings of Love defined on this Mother Earth.
I highly recommend you to read this book.