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The Golden Legend

Nadeem Aslam

From the acclaimed author of Maps for Lost Lovers and The Blind Man’s Garden, a brave, timely, searingly beautiful novel set in contemporary Pakistan – about a community consumed by religious intolerance.

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‘Exhilarating … an exquisite, painful book.’ Lara Feigel, Guardian

A brave, timely, searingly beautiful novel set in contemporary Pakistan, from the author of Maps for Lost Lovers

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 crossfire and dies before she can confess to him her greatest secret. 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 minarets of the city’s mosques and, in a country where the accusation of blasphemy is a currency to be bartered, the mysterious broadcasts have struck fear in Christians and Muslims alike.

Against this background of violence and fear, two outsiders – the young Christian woman Helen and the mysterious Imran from Kashmir – try to find an island of calm in which their love can grow.

In his characteristically luminous prose, Nadeem Aslam reflects Pakistan’s past and present in a single mirror – a story of corruption, resilience, and the hope that only love and the human spirit can offer.

Critic Reviews

Exhilarating ... an exquisite, painful book.

Lara Feigel, Guardian
Critic Reviews

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.

Critic Reviews

Aslam is such a gifted writer. The delicate physicality of his language makes one engage with every word ... [an] urgent, undeniably passionate and wayward novel.

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
Critic Reviews

A coming-of-age love story, a study of loss and a lucid portrait of the conflicts pervading contemporary Pakistan … Aslam’s crystalline prose and emotionally nuanced characters give his novel a wide resonance … Though unsparing in its depiction of the brutal exercise of power, this is also a paean to human resilience.

Laura Garmeson, Financial Times
Critic Reviews

The Golden Legend is Nadeem Aslam’s fifth novel and a remarkable one; but then Aslam is a remarkable writer... Searching for a comparison, a measure by which to praise this utterly engrossing novel, I found myself recalling the greatest English novel set in India – Kipling’s Kim.

Allan Massie, Scotsman
Critic Reviews

Aslam shines above all as the fabricator of radiant images that tell a story in themselves ... a book as notable for its generous heart as its bejewelled prose.

Boyd Tonkin, Spectator

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 longlisted for the Booker Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and won the Kiriyama and Windham Campbell prizes and the Lannan and Encore…

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