BookBrowse Reviews The Geometry of God by Uzma Aslam Khan

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Geometry of God

by Uzma Aslam Khan

The Geometry of God by Uzma Aslam Khan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 386 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A lyrical and philosophical new novel of love, politics, and faith set in modern-day Pakistan

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. I dreamed about the place, the story and the characters both nights after reading, although modern-day Pakistan is a country and culture almost completely alien to me. Uzma Aslam Khan has created exactly what I desire from fiction: to be transported to another world where the problems and rewards of living get worked out in a parallel but utterly different matrix to the world I know.

Each character must move outside of familial expectations in order to follow and realize his or her interests and passions. As the women make choices and take risks, the men must decide how love fits in with political and professional pressures. In a culture increasingly enmeshed in modern global realities, both religious and familial traditions are challenged to continuous breaking points. All of this living takes place in a Muslim country with a government run by the military fundamentalism of General Zia and a history of civil war, death and displacement.

The Geometry of God is a read as challenging as its title. Until I did an hour or two of research on the history of Pakistan, the cities in which the story takes place and a quick overview of Islam, Sufism and Urdu (the official language of Pakistan), I was quite adrift in the opening chapters. Khan intersperses her rich and poetic command of English with Urdu words, though she does provide a brief glossary. It also helped me to get some familiarity with paleontology (the study of fossils and prehistoric creatures). Some readers may find this novel just too inaccessible.

Having invested that bit of time into some study paid off, however, in an elegant, sensuous and deeply emotional journey through two decades of these characters' lives. On the same day that eight year old Alma achieves scientific renown for finding the fossil that becomes known as the "diamond key" to her grandfather's research and thus finds her path in life, she becomes mother and teacher to her blind baby sister Mehwish. By teaching her sister to read and "see" the world through drawing letters on her spine, Alma opens up the uncanny awareness Mehwish brings to writing poetry and to claiming the heart of Noman. Grandfather Zahoor, who loves his granddaughters deeply, whose scientific curiosity will not be silenced by fundamentalism, is still blinded by his gender, and ends up hurting them in ways he cannot begin to see. Noman, with his gift for math and his devotion to Zahoor, cannot avoid a cruel betrayal of these people until he finds the truth of his relationship with his father.

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

This review is from the January 13, 2010 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -