The Golden Legend: A novel (Hardcover)

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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.

About the Author

NADEEM ASLAM was born in Pakistan and now lives in England. He is the author of four previous novels, most recently The Blind Man's Garden. His work has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, short-listed for the IMPAC prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and won the Kiriyama Prize, the Encore Award, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Praise For…

“Powerful and engrossing . . . Aslam writes with great sensitivity and depth about the ways human beings behave under almost unimaginable pressure . . . Despite the misery and cruelty it depicts, The Golden Legend is a heartening book, largely because of Aslam’s faith in the integrity and courage of his main characters and, one supposes, of real people like them.” Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review

“Beautifully imagined . . . [Aslam] makes the unfathomable appear almost ordinary, drawing readers into his multifaceted story and making its brutality more recognizably terrible. Mr. Aslam’s expansive view of history lends his writing this equanimity, as well as its stubborn sense of hope.” Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Stunning . . . Masterful and compelling fiction, intricately layering symbols and parallels, unspooling its plot in dramatic twists until the very last sentence, and revealing the deep interconnections between the themes of power, principle, love, and loss that underlie those realities.” —The Boston Globe       
“A powerful and timely comment on the precarious state of religious minorities in Pakistan, and…an honest mirror to the Pakistani state and society.” —The Washington Post

“Remarkable . . . A work of quiet rage and searing beauty . . . The setting of The Golden Legend may be Pakistan, but the closing of minds and hearts it laments is universal.” —The Economist

The Golden Legend could be the best book you read this year . . . Indelibly intertwined with the atrocious violence and despicable tyranny are moments of wrenching beauty . . . [Offers] readers an unparalleled experience that both rightfully condemns and poignantly honors the worst and best of our shared humanity.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“An aching, lyrical story of schisms and secrets . . . Brooding and beautiful: a mature, assured story of the fragility of the world and of ourselves.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Exquisite . . . 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)

“[An] exquisite, luminous novel . . . The Pakistan depicted in this harrowing novel is unbearably wrenched apart by terror and prejudice, but the dignity of Aslam’s characters and their devotion to one another rises far above the violence.”  —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“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
“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
The Golden Legend dazzles as much as it devastates. As characters wrestle with the truths of their worlds—the magic, the light, the hell, the absurdity—Aslam succeeds in reflecting these truths in his prose. And the reader walks away better for such an intimacy with such unforgettable characters as these.” —Paste Magazine

“Glimmers under the pressure cooker of radical Islam.” —Vanity Fair

“Nothing less than a triumph. Wise and affecting, this is a timely and necessary novel that artfully underscores the dangers of division and the sanctity of hope . . . Ingenious.” —The National
“An opulent and dramatic novel . . . Urgent, undeniably passionate . . . It will undoubtedly be a Man Booker contender . . . 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 . . . The Golden Legend is an important novel.” —Irish Times

“A remarkable book . . . A grieving, not just for Pakistan, on the one hand, and what it could be and what it has been, but for the whole of civilization, because that’s what Aslam does so brilliantly, is weave in and out.” —BBC, “The Saturday Review”
“[This is] nuanced, shatteringly beautiful writing about Middle East entanglement.”Library Journal preview 

“In writing the story of three people of different faiths and ethnicities, Aslam tells the story of Pakistan. With prose both lush and luminous, The Golden Legend offers a perilous kind of hope: is this a story of the forgotten past, or an imagining of the future yet to come?" Spectrum Culture 

“[Aslam is] a brilliant novelist, one of two or three truly great writers in the world today . . . Nadeem Aslam’s The Golden Legend is a magical book, but also a pragmatic one, offering hope in the face of violence and tragedy, bigotry, and intolerance. Aslam’s writing is lyrical and expansive, luminescent, replete with stunningly beautiful passages. His characters resist oppression, growing in strength and dignity as they refuse to bend to hateful authority.” —Counterpunch

“Gripping . . . Beautifully written . . . The luminosity of the writing renders the cruelty and intolerance of the society and regime Aslam depicts all the more horrible.The Scotsman
“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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780451493781
ISBN-10: 0451493788
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 336
Language: English