Amal: the practical sister who digs up the "diamond key" that unlocks the mystery of Pakicetus, a whale-dog creature who once swam the ancient seas that are now Pakistan. Mehwish: the blind younger sister, who moves with the sun and music inside her and thinks in "cup lits not fully legal." Zahoor: their heretical grandfather, a scientist who loves variation and "vim zee" and his two granddaughters most of all. Noman: the young man who steps into a lecture hall, decides "their triangle needs a fourth point," and changes all their lives.
These are the four shifting chambers who make the heart of The Geometry of God, the new novel from lauded Pakistani writer Uzma Aslam Khan. Through these vivid, contradictory, and original characters, Khan celebrates the complexities of familial and erotic love, the tug of curiosity and duty, the intersections of faith and longing. Her exuberant language draws from Urdu and Punjabi and invents one of its own for Mehwish, whose fractured English divides and slows and reveals.
The Geometry of God is a novel one can read greedily, following these characters as their lives unfold against the backdrop of General Zia's Pakistan, where religious fundamentalism gains ground and the mujaheddin is funded by gem sales and the Americans. Or one can savor, as the sisters show us: digging as Amal does toward the novel's deepest questions about love and knowledge and faith, moving as Mehwish does to the rhythms of an abundant and original language.
Reading The Geometry of God was an experience of total immersion, not because I read it in two days but because of the power of the writing and the voices of its four main characters... The story circles through each character's perception of events, like a piece of improvisational music, sifting through the themes of religion vs. science, imagination vs. doing, intellect vs. the senses, and freedom vs. duty. Despite layers of history and decades of turmoil, both love and intelligence prevail. Uzma Aslam Khan presents a convincing case for knowledge and dialogue as the diamond keys to human and international understanding. (Reviewed by Judy Krueger).
The Washington Times, Claire Hopley
Throughout this complex narrative, Ms. Khan writes with unfailing intelligence and linguistic magic. For Westerners, she unlocks doors and windows onto Pakistan and its Islamic culture.....Certainly, most readers will find traditions and ideas that are new to them in this skillful and challenging volume.
O, The Oprah Magazine
Khan's urgent defense of free thought and action - women - courses through every page of this gorgeously complex book; but what really draws the reader in is the way Mehwish taste-tests the words she hears, as if they were pieces of fruit, and probes the meaning of human connection in a culture of intolerance, but also of stubborn hope.
Too many anecdotes make an otherwise interesting storyline a bear to read.
Starred Review. The author's take on fundamentalism can be polemic, but the characters, the poetry and the philosophical questions she raises are rendered with a power and beauty that make this novel linger in the mind and heart.
First City (India) The Geometry of God is a novel that you don't just read; you listen
to it. It can be irreverent, perverse. It can speak with a whole, fluid beauty.
It can be curious, wondrous, noncompliant, like the English in Mehwish's head...
Mehwish is the zauq of the book, the sensory pulse of the novel, who pulls you
into a world of her own making. Expect a simultaneous rush that has funniness,
absurdity, shock, tenderness... (and) great sex.
Uzma Aslam Khan has boldly tapped uncharted themes in her latest book, The
Geometry of God. She carves a sublime story of new and old with contemporary
panache, in which people are real and their fears are prevalent and believable.
Khan weaves a complex story whose narrative has a casual energy to it: each
voice telling his or her story. Khan is not afraid to say anything.
Such wonderful and persuasive writing. No one writes like her about the body,
about the senses, about the physical world. Uzma Aslam Khan is the writer whose
new novel I look forward to the most.
Elegant, sensuous and fiercely intelligent, The Geometry of God takes an
argument that is in danger of becoming stale--that of fundamentalism vs. free
thinking among Muslims--and animates it in a wonderfully inventive story that
pits science against politics and the freedom of women against the insecurities
This book is Uzma Aslam
Khan's third novel. One of her goals as a woman and a Pakistani is to undo formulaic
assumptions about her homeland as well as to aid in the struggle for self- ownership,
self-representation, and intellectual recognition of women. She writes passionately
about this purpose in her essay, "Women
and Fiction Today."
She also urges her readers to understand the complexity that is Pakistan today by first admitting our preconceptions about it and then being willing to shed them; to listen and to look. Instead of only relying on our major news outlets, what should we listen to? Where should we look?
For a start listen to some qawali and Sufi music. At TheSufi.com
you can download free music in mp3 format and videos in mp4.
The Sabri Brothers perform qawali, a form of Sufi devotional music popular in
South Asia, particularly in...
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