The Blind Man's Garden by Nadeem Aslam

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...offers many dignifying touches, like a scene that presents a proud car mechanic...who wants to autograph the engine he has just fixed before letting his frantic customer continue his escape.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

The acclaimed author of The Wasted Vigil now gives us a searing, exquisitely written novel set in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months following 9/11: a story of war, of one family’s losses, and of the simplest, most enduring human impulses.

Jeo and Mikal are foster brothers from a small town in Pakistan. Though they were inseparable as children, their adult lives have diverged: Jeo is a dedicated medical student, married a year; Mikal has been a vagabond since he was fifteen, in love with a woman he can’t have. But when Jeo decides to sneak across the border into Afghanistan—not to fight with the Taliban against the Americans, rather to help care for wounded civilians—Mikal determines to go with him, to protect him.

Yet Jeo’s and Mikal’s good intentions cannot keep them out of harm’s way. As the narrative takes us from the wilds of Afghanistan to the heart of the family left behind—their blind father, haunted by the death of his wife and by the mistakes he may have made in the name of Islam and nationhood; Mikal’s beloved brother and sister-in-law; Jeo’s wife, whose increasing resolve helps keep the household running, and her superstitious mother—we see all of these lives upended by the turmoil of war.

In language as lyrical as it is piercing, in scenes at once beautiful and harrowing, The Blind Man’s Garden unflinchingly describes a crucially contemporary yet timeless world in which the line between enemy and ally is indistinct, and where the desire to return home burns brightest of all.

 

About Nadeem Aslam

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Nadeem Aslam is the author of three highly acclaimed novels: Season of the Rainbirds, which won a Betty Trask Award and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize; Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kiriyama Prize, short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and named a New York Times Notable Book; and, most recently, The Wasted Vigil, short-listed for the Prix Femina Étranger and the Prix Médicis Étranger. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship. In 2012 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
 
Published February 6, 2014 by Faber & Faber. 418 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, War. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Blind Man's Garden
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Mars-Jones on Feb 10 2013

The various incompatibles in his new book The Blind Man's Garden don't surrender their separateness so magically. There are awkward gaps and residues despite the author's great gifts of imagination.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by James Lasdun on Jan 31 2013

But by any measure The Blind Man's Garden is an impressive accomplishment; a gripping and moving piece of storytelling that gets the calamitous first act in the "War on Terror" on to the page with grace, intelligence and rare authenticity.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Randy Boyagoda on Apr 26 2013

...offers many dignifying touches, like a scene that presents a proud car mechanic...who wants to autograph the engine he has just fixed before letting his frantic customer continue his escape.

Read Full Review of The Blind Man's Garden | See more reviews from WSJ online

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Emily Donaldson on May 03 2013

...the novel’s plot-advancing prose...has a regrettable habit of sliding into the expository — an issue in much of the dialogue as well.

Read Full Review of The Blind Man's Garden | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for The Blind Man's Garden
76%

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