The reasons Keenan made those journeys was not only to pit himself against the wilderness while he “physically still could” and “find that part of himself that was still unknown,” but because he wanted his sons to know that their dad was not just an ex-hostage, that they had lived in Alaska when they were young where Cal learned to walk.
It’s why he takes them on trips to the west of Ireland “to show them a place of magic when they are young that will always be with them.” And it’s why he took them on a recent trip to Lebanon where he was kidnapped, to show them that it is not a place of evil.
It occurs to me that had Keenan not been a hostage he would not have written these wonderful books.
“Well, that’s true,” he said. “[My captors] didn’t give me any books until halfway through the third year. Then they gave me a copy of the Koran, which I read. There’s a part of the Koran where the words ‘an evil cradling’ come from where the prophet is talking about the taking of captives. And the prophet says to his followers, give the Koran to the captives so that they take with them when they go more than was ever taken from them. I’m not religious – I don’t believe in that hocus – but that’s what happened. I came back with more than they ever took from me. I came back with a wealth of riches.”