I bought this book while in Amsterdam for a couple of reasons: The title first caught my attention, and the friend I was with said he'd read it and thought it was... ok. But mostly because of the title.
Since buying it I've read a lot of reviews that say it's... ok. Which is why it sat on my TBR for so long.
Now that I've read it, I understand why a lot of people might think it's just ok. Reading it, I'm left with comparisons that include fairy tales and Pilgrim's Progress; allegory plays a big part in this tale, although the message isn't all that hidden. And the author doesn't even try to hide his, or his characters', faiths or spirituality; it's not preachy, but God and Allah are at the root of the plot.
Still, it's beautifully written, and well translated. The allegorical nature of the story and the third person POV kept me from really being invested in what happened to anyone, but I did appreciate the truly omnipotent and omnipresent role the author gave to God. He never tried to restrict the deity's role to just a traditional Christian or a traditional Islamic one; when he claims God is everywhere, he doesn't go about contradicting himself. My appreciation for this refreshing lack of hypocrisy went a long way to overcoming my ambivalence about the fate of the characters, and elevated my appreciation of the book to a notch above 'ok'.
If you prefer your spiritualism to be deity free, you're not going to like this book. If that's less important to you and you're intrigued by the question of "why are we here?", this might be worth a look.
Book themes for International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue),