The Blind Man’s Garden – Nadeem Aslam
No of pages: 416
Source - www.lovereading.co.uk
My Rating – 4 stars
The Blind Man’s Garden is a novel which rewards attentive reading and one in which the reader savours every word. It is the story of a Pakistani family torn apart in the aftermath of 9/11. Foster-brothers Jeo and Mikal hope to make a difference to the plight of Afghan civilians by helping those wounded in the ongoing conflict but their altruistic ambitions are thwarted when they fall into the hands of an Afghan War Lord. Meanwhile, at home in Pakistan, their father Rohan has to deal with Taliban sympathizers keen to join the Jihad whilst the women of the family have ever-dwindling rights in a male-dominated world.
Aslam uses elegant, lyrical prose to describe a world which is often brutal and grotesque. His characters are vivid, complex and flawed – there are no saints on either side. Rohan’s garden provides an oasis of calm, respite from the turbulence of the outside world but he also faces an inner struggle. In a society dominated by religious extremism it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile family and faith and this inevitably creates tension between generations.
It seems a nigh impossible task to unite East and West but, in this compelling novel, Aslam succeeds in highlighting what we have in common – humanity, loyalty, love and family ties – the building blocks upon which a more peaceful future might be based. Despite the tragedies which haunt this family, this is fundamentally a story of hope.
My thanks to Lovereading for sending me a review copy of The Blind Man’s Garden.