Monday, April 29, 2013

"It opened my eyes about many things, made me cry a time or two, and, most of all, it made me think...." --Jackie

The acclaimed author of The Wasted Vigil now gives us a searing, exquisitely written novel set in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months following 9/11: a story of war, of one family’s losses, and of the simplest, most enduring human impulses.

Jeo and Mikal are foster brothers from a small town in Pakistan. Though they were inseparable as children, their adult lives have diverged: Jeo is a dedicated medical student, married a year; Mikal has been a vagabond since he was fifteen, in love with a woman he can’t have. But when Jeo decides to sneak across the border into Afghanistan—not to fight with the Taliban against the Americans, rather to help care for wounded civilians—Mikal determines to go with him, to protect him.

Yet Jeo’s and Mikal’s good intentions cannot keep them out of harm’s way. As the narrative takes us from the wilds of Afghanistan to the heart of the family left behind—their blind father, haunted by the death of his wife and by the mistakes he may have made in the name of Islam and nationhood; Mikal’s beloved brother and sister-in-law; Jeo’s wife, whose increasing resolve helps keep the household running, and her superstitious mother—we see all of these lives upended by the turmoil of war.

In language as lyrical as it is piercing, in scenes at once beautiful and harrowing, The Blind Man’s Garden unflinchingly describes a crucially contemporary yet timeless world in which the line between enemy and ally is indistinct, and where the desire to return home burns brightest of all.

Check out this video (which we can't upload here for some unknown reason), of the author talking about why he wrote this book and more.

Jackie says:
"This is an atmospheric and heart wrenching view of what the aftermath of 9/11 was for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  It focuses on one family, but the story it tells explains a part of the world that we know so little about at the day top day family level.  Everything is in there--the poverty, the richness of life, family, war, peace, religion, traditions, education, Taliban, pride, guilt, life, death and, above all, survival.  The prose is very lyrical, boarding on poetic, but that does not soften the blow of the violence these characters are subjected to (or subject others to).  It isn't an easy read, but it is one that I highly recommend.  It opened my eyes about many things, made me cry a time or two, and, most of all, it made me think about 9/11 in a very, very, very different way."

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