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The Golden Legend: Book summary and reviews of The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam

The Golden Legend

by Nadeem Aslam

The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam X
The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2017
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A brave, timely, searingly beautiful novel from the acclaimed author of The Blind Man's Garden: set in contemporary Pakistan, the story of a Muslim widow and her Christian neighbors whose community is consumed by violent religious intolerance.

When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, Nargis's life begins to crumble around her. Her husband, Massud - a fellow architect - is caught in the cross fire and dies before she can confess her greatest secret to him. Now under threat from a powerful military intelligence officer, who demands that she pardon her husband's American killer, Nargis fears that the truth about her past will soon be exposed. For weeks someone has been broadcasting people's secrets from the minaret of the local mosque, and, in a country where even the accusation of blasphemy is a currency to be bartered, the mysterious broadcasts have struck fear in Christians and Muslims alike.

When the loudspeakers reveal a forbidden romance between a Muslim cleric's daughter and Nargis's Christian neighbor, Nargis finds herself trapped in the center of the chaos tearing their community apart.

In his characteristically luminous prose, Nadeem Aslam has given us a lionhearted novel that reflects Pakistan's past and present in a single mirror, a story of corruption, resilience, and the disguises that are sometimes necessary for survival - a revelatory portrait of the human spirit.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Man Booker Prize long-listed and Dublin short-listed Aslam uses lush, sensuous prose to create beauty from ugliness, calm from chaos, and love from hatred, offering hope to believers and nonbelievers alike. This thoughtful, thought-provoking read will enthrall lovers of international fiction." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Brooding and beautiful: a mature, assured story of the fragility of the world and of ourselves." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. The Pakistan depicted in this harrowing novel is unbearably wrenched apart by terror and prejudice, but the dignity of Aslam's (The Blind Man's Garden) characters and their devotion to one another rises far above the violence." - Publishers Weekly

"Carefully constructed and thoughtful, this is, one senses, a highly personal work for Aslam, whose family was forced to leave Pakistan." - Booklist

"Aslam has a rare ability to write intimate novels with a global reach ... Gorgeous ... Few [novels published this year] are likely to be as beautiful." - The Daily Mail (UK)

"The Pakistan Aslam depicts is one bent on completing what the west has begun with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by revealing quite how dark and unsafe the world can be ... Reading this exquisite, painful book [is] not merely bearable but exhilarating, as it counters the despair with hope." - The Guardian (UK)

"Aslam's crystalline prose and emotionally nuanced characters give his novel a wide resonance; 'these struggles of Pakistanis were not just about Pakistan,' as one character muses. Though unsparing in its depiction of the brutal exercise of power, this is also a paean to human resilience." - Financial Times

"An opulent and dramatic novel ... Aslam has an almost Shakespearean feel for violence as well as a grasp of the ongoing terrorism committed across Pakistan, India, and Kashmir in the name of religion." - Irish Times

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Author Information

Nadeem Aslam Author Biography

Photo copyright Jerry Bauer.

Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14. His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia's regime.

His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him more than a decade to complete. Aslam has stated that the first chapter alone took five years to complete, and that the following story in the book took seven months to complete before rejecting it. At the end, he kept only one sentence of the seventy pages written. Aslam's latest novel, The Wasted Vigil, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in September, 2008. It is set in Afghanistan. He traveled to Afghanistan during the writing of the book but had never visited the country before writing the first draft. On 11th February 2011, it was short-listed for the Warwick Prize For Writing.

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  • Maps For Lost Lovers jacket
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