05 August, 2013

The Blind Man's Garden by Nadeem Aslam [Emma, Birkenhead Library]

Pakistan, Afghanistan, in the months following 9/11: there is no simple path to follow; no simple choice is possible. The effects of Al Qaeda and American retaliation and war reach deeply into a family, which is battered and torn by the actions of others that they cannot control.

I had this book for a long time, reading sometimes only a paragraph at a sitting, because I was frightened to glimpse around the corner at what was ahead. I was afraid! I didn’t want people to whom I’d formed attachments to be hurt or die!  I could not imagine how impossible and painful situations could be resolved!

Young men join a cause that betrays them; a struggling woman seeks a decent life for her daughter; people are torn between human decency and loyalty to conflicting religious dictates; an imperfect man is blinded by a jewel as he tries to keep his family intact; a couple hide their forbidden love.

Many tragedies told amongst passages of beautiful prose.  The garden that gives the book its title is also the books fragrant central setting, a constant backdrop into which the mad happenings of the surroundings sometimes intrude.

I had no idea how they would manage, but they did.

 “And the stars,” he says, “the twinkling of them.  I will remember them by holding the palm of my hand in the rain.”
Title: The Blind Man's Garden
Author: Nadeem Aslam
ISBN: 9780571287918

Published: 2013
Publisher: Faber & Faber

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