Synopses & Reviews
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.
A Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Growing up as brothers in a small town in Pakistan, Jeo and Mikal were inseparable; however as adults their paths have diverged sharply. Jeo is newly married and a dedicated medical student, while Mikal, in love with a woman he can’t have, has adopted the life of a vagabond. Nonetheless, when Jeo decides to slip across the border into Afghanistan to help civilians caught in the post-9/11 clash between American and Taliban forces, Mikal goes with him. But their good intentions cannot keep them out of harm’s way. A piercing portrayal of lives upended by war, The Blind Man’s Garden is an unflinching look at a world in which the line between enemy and ally is indistinct, and the desire to return home burns brightest of all.
About the Author
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.