Suzanne Gattis, Reviewer
What is reality, and what is fiction? Do any of us really know in the end? This is something that the author, and in turn the reader, ponders throughout this novel by Sabri Bebawi, titled Divine Comedy. How can one man face so many medical obstacles in a single lifetime? Can one man have such fervent love affairs with so many exotic women and yet never seem to really find true love? Life is, after all, a Divine Comedy. As the author wrote, “There are only two ways to react to life’s trials and tribulations—either become frustrated, bitter, and angry and feel sorrow or see all events as comical and somewhat wacky.”
Bebawi does a great job of reiterating his book’s theme throughout the novel. There is no doubt left upon the readers of this book exactly what the author set out to accomplish through his unique style of storytelling. The revolving mention of Divine Comedy is interwoven in almost every chapter, showing that life can be full of twists, turns, and upside downs, as well as times of beauty and love. This point was well articulated throughout the storytelling of the book.
As an uncommon angle throughout the story, the narrator has a wandering eye, along with an enticing way, with the ladies, leaving me wondering what void the character was trying to fill. I believe this humanized the character in a great way and showed great restraint. I believe what outwardly was shown as a strength was indeed something that many would look upon as a great weakness.
On the surface, this book is easy to read; however, to grasp the connectedness of the writing is a bit more challenging, requiring slowing down at times to absorb the deeper meaning of the story. While the words and overall thoughts flowed well, the reader needs to allow for the theme to be revealed; otherwise, one may find something in the story missing. I believe the rhythm of this author is uniquely different from all others I have experienced. The reveal of the story is only the beginning of the journey; thus, the strength in his writing is accomplished with the addition of allowing time for mulling over the underlying irony of the character’s awareness, affording the philosophical undercurrent the opportunity to rise from just the reading of the words.
The author did an excellent job of reminding us of the ever-changing nature of our world. Bebawi threaded a similar situation repeatedly, although the ailments and the faces changed. The ability to be true to a theme while still introducing new challenges and ideas allows Bebawi to truly master the writing of this book.
Bebawi leaves the readers to decide what is factual and what is fictional within the book. It makes the reader always wonder about the threads of reality, which is exactly the point of Divine Comedy. Overall, I found Divine Comedy by Sabri Bebawi to be a charming, unique story, full of adventure and emotion, with a creative edge for storytelling.