The Arab King of My Heart and Soul

by Yuriko Terasaka

"We see clearly with our hearts. What is essential is invisible to the eyes."

This slim, but heartfelt book is a combination of many things. Part diary, part treatise, part lecture, part novella—it seeks to encapsulate the thoughts and feelings of a woman descended from a Japanese mother and Native American father. In the thralls of a long-distance, non-sexual love affair with an Arab man, she pours her heart and soul into her definitions, interpretations, and descriptions of how to live life and enjoy love to the fullest. The digital age we live in is the conduit for Yuriko’s relationship. She spots Mashalany on line, is initially smitten, and so begins a cyber love affair that transcends all barriers of space and time. Through her words we come to understand how she feels about love, sex, monogamy, devotion, loyalty, empathy, commitment, separate yet shared experience, and more. We’re also provided with fascinating insights into facets of Japanese life and culture such as the history and background of Geishas, the art of Haiku poetry, and the intricacies of classical Heian period literature that gave birth to some of the earliest examples of writing by women.

Of particular interest also, are the author’s comparisons of similarities between Yuriko’s Japanese culture and Mashalany’s Muslim religion. One interesting example is her discussion of the Kimono and the burka. While the latter is most frequently worn in respect to Allah, they both wrap women in garments that project modesty and focus less on external attributes and more on inner beauty.

In prose that strives for, and occasionally finds poetic timber, this is a sincere attempt to lay bare one’s beliefs and aspirations for the inspirational power of love to magnify and enhance the experience of life.

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