In quest of paradise
‘Three Last Wishes’ by Naser Banaqeeb takes the readers to a make-believe world, the kind of world where imagination transforms into a reality…
You have tricked me into believing that life ends. But, now, I have breathed in immortality. I will not die."
When Haroon Furqan heard from his grandmother about paradise on earth, he thought it was just another story. As a little boy, he was bowled over by the intriguing account of the palaces made of gold and silver and other precious materials like the ruby and the emerald.
Everything in that lost Arabian city was adorned with jewels of exquisite beauty. But when he grew up he realized that it was not a story but the truth.
The novel, 'Three Last Wishes' by Naser Banaqeeb, takes the readers to a make-believe world, the kind of world where imagination transforms into a reality and challenges the mundane affairs of the earthly inhabitants.
It is an extremely powerful story of a young man, Haroon, from his childhood days immersed in fantasy through years of quest for paradise on earth to his realization that he could be immortal forever.
The novel explains how Haroon, the protagonist, discovers the city that is akin to paradise built by the king of kings, Shadaad and later gives up everything to breathe in Magical realism is one of the core elements of this book which makes it interesting.
The author is successful at weaving the threads of fantasy into a much closer depiction of the life that doesn't actually end! On his journey, he connects with several people whose experiences create a great impact on his own.
Abteh, the drifter who convinces Haroon to use his first wish, leaves him half the way.
Haya, the princess, feels obliged to guide him and opens his eyes to a larger world, a world where love can also be found. Ibli is the trickster, the chief of demons who wants to take control of paradise. Sprinkled throughout this book are a few other characters too which represent greed, jealousy, vanity, and the desires of human flesh.
A few sugar-coated scenes also reflect some prophecies and can be related to the vagaries of the modern world. For instance, Ibli always tries to mislead Haroon into believing that greed is the precursor of enviable power.
The greedier you are, the more powerful you become. Haroon, despite being morally weak, sees through his plans and picks a wish that transcends his life forever.
The story has an unexpected ending.
To conclude, the book is attractive and can drag you in, and ultimately make you fall in love with it for sure. It is replete in metaphors and similes. The title perfectly aligns with the plot of the book.
Naser Banaqeeb's writing is evocative. The book also shows the author's sincere efforts to capture human experiences through his characters.