Read The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam Online


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 herWhen 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....

Title : The Golden Legend
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571330737
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 203 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Golden Legend Reviews

  • Carol
    2019-03-07 22:32

    [It may be some time before I have the bandwidth to write proper reviews. Penning this one would be my first priority, when time permits.]Until then: I would give it ten stars if I could. I will press it into the hands of both friends and strangers, in what, no doubt, will eventually cause deserved eye-rolls. It will stay in my heart and mind for a long, long time.

  • Ace
    2019-03-05 23:51

    This story depicts in detail the violence in current day Pakistan. It is beautifully told but hard to read. It must be so hard to remain patriotic in some countries when madness seems to have taken hold of your political and religious leadership. Enough said.

  • William Koon
    2019-03-23 01:41

    I discovered Nadeem Aslam many years ago. He is totally delightful as a writer. He never disappoints with his intelligent and thoughtful themes. His Map for Lost Lovers remains one of my favorite novels of this century. In The Golden Legend, he returns to his native contemporary Pakistan and writes a horror story. Basically his characters are Christians in a Muslim society. The Christians are very persecuted. But then even moderate Muslims are persecuted. The nation is a living picture of dystopia.But people live in a dystopia and Alsam does a wonderful portrayal of the women, who are essentially outsiders in their own culture. There is Nardis, a talented architect. Aysha, a widow of a “martyr” who must forever remain a widow to honor her husband’s death. Helen who is the daughter of a Christian rickshaw driver, educated and could be something, if she were not Christian and a woman shines. After a set-up of Nardis’s husband being assassinated and the introduction of a love affair between Lily and Aysha, the wheels get to turning. The central part of the novel is the idyll of Nardis, Helen, and Imran, who is a renegade Kasmir rebel without a cause. They escape to an island paradise, but of course there is no escaping the corruption, the bombings, the humiliations, the assurance of theocratic rightness. In the midst of all of this ugliness and perversity, Aslam writes some beautiful nature passages, and we become aware of what natural beauty could exist if it were not for the politics and religious passions of men. The symbolism is oft-times heavy handed, as in the reconstruction of the book by the father of Masud, Nardis’ murdered husband. Carefully she tries to repair the work after it has been violated by an American intelligence figure. There are also famous buildings reconstructed and buildings made of paper. And books with poetic worm holes. No one said it was perfect.I am still unsure about the last part of the novel. I firmly believe that no one should write magical realism unless your name is Garcia Marquez.Still, the work is a near masterpiece, missing the mark enough to make the reader wish that the lines were drawn a bit wider, the field a bit longer.

  • Eric Anderson
    2019-03-25 04:37

    I’ve greatly admired Nadeem Aslam’s writing since I read his 2004 novel “Maps for Lost Lovers” which focused on an immigrant Pakistani community in the north of England. There is something so striking about his use of imagery which conveys the feelings of his characters and expresses the ideas which they are wrestling with. His novels are intricate, layered with diverse references and wrestle with pressing political dilemmas, but at the heart of his writing are compelling dramatic stories of individuals simply trying to live and love each other in challenging circumstances. It feels like his new novel “The Golden Legend” is his most violent and heartrending yet. It’s set in Pakistan and concerns several individuals caught in the middle of a fraught religious struggle. An architect named Nargis hides a dangerous secret which she must reckon with when her Christian friends Helen and her father Lily find themselves embroiled in a serious conflict with the strict Muslims of the community. Together with a young ex-militant man named Imran from Kashmir, they escape to a forgotten place of refuge – inevitably they are unable to remain hidden from the larger world forever. Read my full review of The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam on LonesomeReader

  • Saloni
    2019-02-24 02:45

    We live in a difficult world and it is up to writers and artists to make it worth living in, even while engaging with the worst it has to offer. Aslam's latest is almost morbid in the way it connects to the unreal everyday of life in Pakistan and in neighbouring Kashmir. It is brutal. It is difficult to read. It is impossible to ignore. And yet, as he often does, the text makes you want to believe in the possibility of hope and redemption and love.This isn't a pretty book. It does have a pretty book in it, though. Do read.

  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    2019-03-11 03:47

    To say this is a timely read is an understatement. The capacity for violence and hate in humans and to use that hatred and violence in the name of religion, any religion, is terribly sad making. A sad and melancholic ending.

  • Vivek Tejuja
    2019-03-09 01:43

    With every book that he writes, Nadeem Aslam only gets better at his craft. Since his debut novel in 1993, “Season of the Rainbirds”, Aslam returns to Pakistan with his latest book “The Golden Legend”. His new book is also just the others – a statement made against wars, what was started by the West and how the country he depicts is hell-bent on completing it, and to top it the darkness of the world. What is different about “The Golden Legend” (which I personally love) is the combination of realism and fable across a terrain of terrorism, tragedy and cruelty.“The Golden Legend” opens with the death of a middle-aged architect Massud, leaving his wife and collaborator Nargis behind. Both of them were collectively working on building a library on the outskirts of the city – to which they were transporting books and that is how Massud got shot and died. At this time, with turmoil surrounding them and a roadside shooting as well, Nargis flees with her Christian neighbour Helen. This is when there are violent relations between Christians and Muslims.This is only one part of the story. There is also the story of Helen, who falls in love with Imran, an unknown Kashmiri. There is the story of Helen’s mother Lily. There is another tale of the US officer who wants Nargis to forgive her husband’s killer. Amidst all this, there is the story of life, love and reconstruction of faith.Aslam’s prose cuts through to you. At least it has always to me. His narrative is wise and affecting and perhaps more timely than ever. Catharsis for his characters comes in forms and ways one cannot even imagine. Through his solid writing, Aslam reflects Pakistan’s present and past through a story of love and human spirit, which only he could have offered.

  • Stasha
    2019-03-01 04:23

    I found that the Golden Legend tried to touch on many themes and make many points in a delicately poetic style of writing, too many perhaps to remain coherent. I kept thinking about the quote on the cover page that said "There is no greater denier of God than he who accepts injustice instead of rebelling." That was perhaps the "golden" thread that tied the narrative together. Despite and in spite of odds its characters face in a place where uncertainty and violence is part of a daily life, each of these characters rebel in their own way against conditions imposed on them by fact of birth or circumstance. "The believer in the mosque is like a fish in the water. The hypocrite in the mosque is like a bird in a cage."Lily and Aysha deny the world to cage them into their separate existances within their communities in which they were born. Helen and Moscow rebel against the world full of violence and prejudice they were handed down by their parents and grandparents. Nargis finally came out of the cage she imposed on herself by pretending to be someone she was not and lead a life worthy of her capabilties. Bishop Solomon, whom we learn about early on but do not get to know until almost the end of the book, leaves a strong message for the reader. "It was the idea that man was a brother to man. ..I love you not because you are my neighbour but because you are my brother..I love you not because you offer me guidance and food but because you are my brother..." . Question remains why our past and our present do not reflect this knowledge but instead try to prove it wrong.

  • Patricia
    2019-02-26 05:42

    (4.5) Beautiful, riveting, and almost unbearable. I kept skimming ahead, anxious about what would happen to much loved characters. I wouldn't say that art makes sense of suffering. But it does engage the reader's compassion, our ability to imaginatively feel with others. Aslam does the kind of storytelling that builds compassion and hopefully, eventually, peace. I loved the central symbol of kintsugi, mending rifts with golden threads.

  • Jane
    2019-03-03 02:29

    In shimmering and exquisite prose the author rails against the various forms of religious bigotry and hatred in a dystopian Pakistan: a wife, Nargis,and her Muslim husband, Masood, who are architects where Nargis lives a lie--a Christian taking on a Muslim identity; a young Christian girl, Helen, they consider their protégé; her widowed father, Lily, in love with a Muslim cleric's daughter and she him; the love between Helen and a young Kashmiri, Imran, a former guerrilla fighter. His ideals have been betrayed by the training camp but not lost completely. Absolutely unforgettable story and characters! Although not completely clear towards its finale, the story ends on a note of optimism. A book written by Masood's father, telling of how all cultures have borrowed from each other and from that we can assume that all men are at base, brothers, figures strongly in the novel. Highly recommended.

  • Rachel Watts
    2019-03-23 21:32

    This novel is a stunning work. It tells a story both wide, and spread over centuries, and very intimate. That Aslam manages to step across that gulf so easily, and so frequently, is an incredible achievement. The book that Massud is holding when he is shot was authored by his own father. It is a book of the commonalities of humanity, the lore, the fables and, yes, the religious beliefs, that are interchanged between nationalities, cultures and faiths. And this book, destroyed and painstakingly stitched back together with gold thread, offers Aslam the focal point that makes his story both very specific and universal. The sense of place is breathtaking, the prose is beautiful and heartbreaking.Full review here:

  • Jane
    2019-03-10 03:50

    This book was so beautifully written, sometimes I would stop in awe and read phrases over and over, just to soak up the imagery, the felicitous perfect choice of words.Learned a lot about Pakistan, Kashmir. Highly recommend.

  • Scott Pierce
    2019-03-02 01:47

    Tremendous read and one of the best novels (though I also marked it as historical fiction as there were enough parts - like the interweaving of the American "diplomat" taken into custody in Pakistan - to give the story some historical backdrop) of the year.Not only was the story compelling, but Aslam is able to bring out the nuance in multiple characters, and also delve deeply enough into the Kashmir question, and the impact of the situation in Afghanistan on Pakistan domestically, and examine the treatment of religious minorities etc. That is a lot of character development and issue examination in one book, so well done.Some interesting segments:Helen after the death of her mother, Grace: "She knew she would never really recover. It was as though her pen ran out of ink while writing a letter. She had picked up another containing ink of a different colour and continued; but even if the words and the lines of thought remained the same, something had altered."The brother of a main character, a writer who was killed for his writing, would write in all of his notebooks, "War will drown in the writer's inkwell."On the failures of Pakistan: "And she felt a sense of shame, something akin to accusation from them towards her and her generation, for not having constructed a better world to welcome and contain their beauty, to house their spirit."On the general idea of the different religions, races, ethnicities and people becoming one: "That was how one continent poured itself into another. How one person carried the answer through his life until he met the person who was carrying the question."

  • Sonja
    2019-03-22 22:51

    Margaret neemt de islamitische naam Nargis aan en draagt haar hele leven een valse identiteit om pesterijen te voorkomen en vermomd te blijven. Massud, een collega-architect, wordt verliefd op haar op de universiteit en trouwt met haar. Het architectenpaar heeft later Lilly en Grace in dienst voor hulp bij hun werk. Massud wordt per ongeluk neergeschoten tijdens de opening van een nieuwe bibliotheek die hij en zijn vrouw hebben ontworpen, omdat hij toevallig deel uitmaakte van een kilometerslange menselijke keten om de kostbare boeken naar hun nieuwe tehuis te vervoeren. Na de dood van Massud wordt de rouwende Nargis achtergelaten als bewaker van Helen, de dochter van hun hulp, die zij hebben opgevoed als een soort surrogaatkind. Beiden zijn in gevaar. Nargis wordt achtervolgd door een Amerikaanse inlichtingenofficier, die wenst dat ze de Amerikaan die Massud heeft vermoord, publiekelijk vergeeft. Helen is verliefd op Imran, een Kashmiri-terrorist-in-opleiding, die is ontsnapt uit zijn kamp nadat hij zich realiseerde dat van hem werd verwacht dat hij meedeed aan brutale acties in Pakistan. Aslam creërt in zijn roman een betoverend eiland voor zijn jonge geliefden, geleid door de treurige Nargis. Zij en haar man hadden een moskee gebouwd op dit verlaten eiland aan de rand van Zamana, met de bedoeling de kloven tussen verschillende takken van de Islam te helen. Het oorspronkelijke plan was dat er een hindoetempel en een kerk naast zouden worden gebouwd. Dit idealisme bleek echter misplaatst en het eiland werd verlaten nadat er een moord was gepleegd in de moskee. Nu trekt het trio zich terug uit de wereld, om hun religieuze en nationale verschillen te kunnen vergeten. Maar ze weten dat ze zullen worden ontdekt en meer lijden zullen ondergaan.Het verhaal bestrijkt religieus extremisme, haat en intolerantie in de samenleving. Het is een verstikkende omgeving voor religieuze minderheden en ook voor liberalen. De haat in de samenleving is zo ingebakken dat zelfs een elfjarige weigerde een drankje van Helen, een christen, te accepteren. Later sluipt de jongen naar binnen, zwaait met een mes om aan te vallen en controleert of Helen een andere kleur bloed heeft, zoals hem door zijn moeder is verteld.Deze briljant vervaardigde roman belicht niet alleen de onrechtvaardigheden en wreedheden die in de samenleving heersen, maar ook de hypocrisie van mensen in de regering, en geeft op treffende wijze onze tijd weer waarin religieus extremisme veel bloedvergieten heeft veroorzaakt. Hier is een fictief verhaal dat een krachtige boodschap probeert over te brengen.

  • Alan
    2019-03-23 05:32

    4.5 stars. Aslam portrays the horror of extremism in modern Pakistan, where not only the Christian minority is persecuted, but moderate Muslims too, and in neighbouring Kashmir Muslims are on the receiving end of violence and torture. Persecution is extreme: beheadings, whippings, stonings. Americans (and allies) meanwhile can drone bomb and assassinate and get away with it. Within this setting love, particularly any love that crosses religious boundaries is almost impossible, but this is the force behind the characters richly portrayed here, on the run, willing to sacrifice themselves to save others, to have one more day together. Art - in particular architecture - is a saving grace too, beauty is revered and protected as much as possible in the context of so much savagery. E.g. The pages of an aesthetically valuable book portraying the cross fertilisation of cultures is slashed by soldiers and lovingly sewed back together by each of the characters. Sounds a bit heavy on the symbolism? It is. There are also great gobbets of history chucked in which in a lesser book would have sunk it. Not this one, this is a must read for any interested in the region (and who can't be today?) and how the conflicts must be resolved and extremism overcome in order for not only love, but the enrichments of culture and day to day life to thrive again. A plea and a testament from a great writer.

  • Mubeen Irfan
    2019-03-17 22:37

    One of my office colleagues is an ardent fan of Nadeem Aslam and had pushed me to read his first book 'Maps for lost lovers' which I felt to be mediocre. I was pushed again by the same colleague to read this one highlighting that this is probably his best work yet and that I will change my opinions on Nadeem Aslam post reading this. Sadly, for him, I maintain that Nadeem Aslam is an over-rated writer.This book is a mash-up of different plot lines. Raymond Davis, Pakistani society's attitude towards blasphemy and utilizing it to take revenge upon unsuspecting Muslims & non-Muslims and Kashmir jihad, have all been included in this book of 360 odd pages. I felt that it was too much condensed into a single book and dropping one or two plot lines would not have hurt the fluidity of this novel. Nadeem Aslam could probably have done away with a hundred pages too, to remain on the point.A very average read and like the recent Pakistani-English fiction, it portrays a very bleak picture of a regressive Pakistani society where the hope of a change is minimal. In real life, this point remains debatable.

  • Ceil
    2019-03-11 01:43

    An amazing book, sustaining its clear voice and layers of powerful messages through the final page. It's a story of Pakistani politics. It's a story of the clash of different religions - and of the rage people act on in the name of their religions - and how acting protects us from reflecting deeply on the many ways in which we are the same. It's really hard to read in a lot of places. But worth it. Read this book.

  • David Kenvyn
    2019-03-12 05:46

    This is an extraordinary book.   It is extraordinary in so many ways that it is difficult to know where to begin.   So I thought that I would start with the obvious and work forwards from there.   Nadeem Aslam is a master of the craft of writing.   His choice of words is exquisite.   His construction of sentences approaches the immaculate, which is as good as it could ever possibly get.   Like the Ancient Mariner, he knows how to seize the attention of his readers and to make us listen until he has finished his story.   And what a story this is.   It is spellbinding.   It is riveting.   Whether you emerge sadder or wiser depends on your ability to listen and to understand.   You will not emerge from this tale unmoved.This is an uncomfortable tale.   I imagine that there are many people who will be extremely unhappy with it as it brings things hiding in the shadows into the light.   It begins with Massud and Nargis setting out from their home to join a group of people carrying by hand rare and valuable books along the Grand Trunk Road in Zamana from the old library building to the new.   It begins with a story of renewal and a message of hope.   An American is driving along the same road and two young men on a motorcycle attempted to rob the American at gunpoint.   He opened fire and in the ensuing fight Massud is killed, as are both the robbers.   This is when the story enters the depths of hell.The American claims diplomatic immunity, and the Pakistani military want the families to accept payment in compensation for the deaths in accordance with Sharia law.   But an extremist fundamentalist group want the families to reject compensation so that the American can be executed.   The original leader of this group was killed by a drone attack in Waziristan, and his widow, Aysha, and his son, who lost both his legs in the same attack, have returned to her father, who is the Imam of a mosque in Zamana.   Her brother-in-law and his gang of militants have also come to the mosque.   Aysha has begun a clandestine relationship with Lily, a rickshaw-wallah and a Christian, whose daughter Helen is being taught by Nargis.   There is one further character to introduce and that is Imtiaz.   He is a young man who has fled from the Indian Army in Kashmir to learn how to fight.    He ends up in a training camp outside Zamana, and he runs away from there.It is not my task to tell you how all these stories interlock.   That you must discover for yourself.   The themes of the book however are quite clear.   This is a book about corruption.   There is the corruption of seeking wealth, that allows justice to be bought, that allows people to buy their way out of trouble, where influence is for sale.   There are also the two sides of this corruption process, those who are prepared to be bought and those who are prepared to buy.   But there is a much deeper corruption - that of the soul.  Nadeem Aslam explores the roots of this kind of corruption - anger, hate, humiliation, feelings of powerlessness, persecution and despair.   Nadeem Aslam explores all of this without being judgemental, although I think it is clear for whom ha has sympathy.Aslam's other theme is those redeeming qualities in all human life, hope and love.   They pervade this story.   In many ways, they are the root of it.   As I have said, it is an extraordinary tale.   It manages to be realistic and uplifting at the same time.   Nadeem Aslam is one of the extraordinary writers of our time.   He shows us the world as it is, but insists that there is hope.   His is a voice against despair.   His is a voice of humanity, of hope, of love - and the greatest of these is love.

  • Katia N
    2019-03-23 04:32

    2.5 stars from meI was disappointed by this book. The first 20 pages are really promising, and I am interested in the subject matter. The novel is set in the modern day Pakistan. But after a good start it went downhill for me. The violent act after violent act, the horror, after horror, after horror - and all of this without deeper psychology or desire to analyse each of these acts. There is a clear divide between “good’ characters and “bad” characters which seems as a simplification to me. Some characters seem to appear only to be killed or commit suicide in the next page. The main characters do not seem to have very deep feelings related to those endless deaths. Maybe because of the sheer amount of violence and the characters’ attitude I stopped to empathise with anyone in this novel pretty soon. For the realistic rendering of the situation it is too much in one go which makes the novel grasping for coherence. If it is used as the symbolism, it is not subtle enough. Some visual images Aslam creates in the novel are really beautiful. There are some interesting ideas as well. For example, the one minor character says he does not despair yet about his country because he does not feel he made enough for this country be better place. I would be interested to read more expanded discussion about it. Some facts he shares are really interesting. But the novel as a whole has got too much symbolism and lacks the depth for me. The novel mentions that in spite of all the horror the ordinary Pakistanis “finding pockets of love and comfort within the strict laws governing them”. I wish these quite human emotions would be more visible in the book.

  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-03-10 03:33

    Trigger warnings: death of a sibling, death of a parent, death of a spouse, torture, oppression of religious minorities, suicide, bombings.3.5 stars. So here's the thing: the writing here is beautiful. And the characters are great. But it's told in such a non-linear fashion that I struggled to keep up. It's set in modern-day Pakistan, and doesn't shy away from discussing the way that Christians and moderate Muslims are treated and blamed for certain events in the community. But it jumps around between the childhood of characters now in their 50s, it jumps back to the childhood of characters now in their 20s, it jumps around in terms of locations and characters and then the end got a little bit...magical realism-y? And all of that is fine. Except that here, there was never any indication that we'd jumped back in time or that we'd suddenly changed locations. And occasionally, we'd jump to the perspective of a character we'd never met before. And I just found that while the story was interesting, I found it a little confusing and I wanted a more...linear...approach to the storytelling. But honestly? That's a me thing and not a book thing.

  • SeharMoughal
    2019-03-08 00:36

    A friend recommended this book (literally placing it in my hands) and said, 'I think you'll like it'. Which I did. I also hated it: being a Pakistani it was too close to home. I wish I could say to people that Aslam over exaggerated when writing about the violence in Pakistan but that would be untrue. What did surprise me was the abundance of love nestled within the pages - the kind that reminds you of the life within you - yes I had forgotten all the good things about my home land.

  • Siobhan Harrop-McDiarmid
    2019-02-26 01:50

    Well written story, I feel I need to research and read more on Pakistan to understand how much of this story could occur in real life.

  • Phil
    2019-03-22 02:40

    This brutal and brilliant book is the best book about Pakistan since Salman Rushdie wrote Shame.

  • Gina
    2019-03-27 03:30

    Massud and his wife Nargis are both architects living in Zamana, Pakistan. The city is rife with religious intolerance, corrupt politicians and police, and largely controlled by the equally corrupt military intelligence agency. Aslam gives tremendous insight into the horrors of life in contemporary Pakistan, telling a beautiful story of Massud and Nargis and their protégé, Helen and young Imran, a refugee from Kashmir. Massud is accidently killed in an exchange of fire between an American and his adversaries. This shocking incident sets in motion a series of events. This wonderful book catapults you into the horrors of religious intolerance and at the same time delivers humanity as a shining beacon. 4+ stars

  • Stuart
    2019-03-23 04:51

    This is a finely crafted new novel. It probably won't get much attention in the US, but I wish it would.

  • Kelsi H
    2019-03-06 00:37

    Please read all of my reviews at!In broad terms, The Golden Legend is an exploration of the conflict between Muslims and Christians, set in contemporary Pakistan. However, it is much more than that, because Aslam puts a human face to the conflict. He gives us the perspectives of several very compelling individuals, both Christian and Muslim. The religious and political situation in the Middle East becomes personal and accessible, in Aslam’s capable hands.Both moderate Muslims, Nargis and Massud are a happily married couple – they are architects, living an idyllic life that focuses on literature and the intellect. Although they have no children of their own, they have helped to raise Helen, the daughter of their housekeeper. Helen’s family is Christian, but Nargis and Massud embrace her with religious tolerance – they observe the conflict around them with distaste, but do not actively participate in any way. They are more concerned with building a new library in the city, but as they help to transfer priceless books to the new location, they are drawn into the religious battle around them through a shocking tragedy – Massud is caught in the crossfire of an American shooter, and is killed instantly.With Massud’s death, Nargis’ entire life is called into question. She finds herself being threatened by a U.S. military intelligence officer, who demands that she pardon her husband’s killer in order to quell an uprising against American forces. Meanwhile, someone is broadcasting the secrets of local citizens from the city’s minarets – and Nargis has a huge secret that she never found the right time to tell Massud. The military threats and Orwellian accusations of people acting against the regime certainly adds to the dystopian feel of the novel – although it is unfortunately based on reality. Nargis and her neighbours live in fear of having their secrets exposed, and they move through streets filled with violence and corruption.Amongst this terror, Aslam shows us that there is room for hope and tolerance in this threatening world. Helen and Nargis work together to repair the book that Massud was holding when he was killed, which was later torn apart by Nargis’ interrogator. And Helen meets Imran, a mysterious man from Kashmir who is searching for peace, and a place where he can be himself. Nargis, Helen and Imran find solace together, but they cannot hide from reality forever.In The Golden Legend, Pakistan’s past and present collide. The characters act as symbols for their various beliefs, and yet they are also clearly developed as individuals. There is some magic realism, and the weaving of legend into everyday life, but most of all the focus is on a world that is all too real. In the political reality that we find ourselves in today, it is so important for Aslam to illustrate his novel with unique individuals on an intimate scale – this is not just a distant conflict, it is about real people and their joys and sorrows. The novel is thoughtful and timely, and it shows the survival of the human spirit despite all odds. I received this book from Faber & Faber and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Dee
    2019-03-15 00:42

    A story of life in a city in Pakistan near the Indian border and how both religion and the many forms of violence affect the people who live there. I had no idea of the day-to-day undercurrents and tensions that underpin this story and why we, in the West, find it hard to comprehend the happenings in that part of the world. But an interesting read all the same!

  • Eugene Smolenskiy
    2019-03-18 01:48

    "... despair has to be earned. I personally have not yet done all I can to change things. I haven't yet earned the right to despair."This novel gives plenty of reasons to despair of Pakistan ever breaking out of its persistent cycle of senseless and indiscriminate violence against its own people. The backdrop of violence is ever present throughout this book, but through it all the author manages to tell a beautiful story about love, human connection, and the multi-faceted nature of identity: religious, national, historic.There is much to love about this book. In particular the way that it meanders through and stitches together the past and the present; establishing that, on the whole, people often have more that unites them than divides. You, the reader, just have to bear a few proverbial gut punches along the way."... he no longer believed in the existence evil. To him 'evil' was now just another word for stupidity, for not knowing what really mattered in life--in your own and in the lives of others."

  • Lindsey
    2019-02-28 05:27

    In The Golden Legend Nedim aslam returns to his native home Pakistan and writes a horror story about the awful things that happen in pakistan. His characters are Christians in a Muslim society. The Christians are very persecuted. But then even average Muslims are persecuted to . The nation is a picture of dystopia.Alsam portrayal of the women essentially shows them as outsiders in their own culture. There is Nardis, a talented architect. Aysha, a widow of a “martyr” who must forever remain a widow to honor her husband’s death. Helen who is the daughter of a Christian rickshaw driver, educated and could be something, if she were not Christian and a woman shines. After a setup of Nardi's husband was assassinated and the introduction of a love affair between Lily and Aysha, the book's plot begins to unfold. The central part of the novel is the perfectness of Nardis, Helen, and Imran, who is a renegade Kashmir rebel without a cause. They escape to an island paradise; but of course there is no escaping the corruption, the bombings, the humiliations, the approval of the church who rules . In the midst of all of this ugliness and unreasonable way; Aslam writes some beautiful nature passages: and we become aware of what natural beauty could exist if it were not for the politics and religious passions of men. The symbolism is often times heavy handed, as in the reconstruction of the book by the father of Masud. Nardis’ murdered husband. Carefully she tries to repair the work after it has been violated by an American intelligence figure.

  • Srividya Rao
    2019-02-26 04:44

    This book is the first book I have read which is set completely in Pakistan. Just as the dust jacket claims, the prose is luminous. The author has created a beautiful, empathatic cast of characters and through them we explore a brutal world. It is a multi-layered, complicated world filled with generational grievances and a vicious cycle of violence. The author does a phenomenal job of showing us all the facets - there is no right or wrong, there is only the oppressed and the powerful and corrupt. As a counter-point, he also uses a book, aptly called 'That They Might Know Each Other', which details how the cultures and civilisations are completely inter-twined. He also manages to create beauty in this brutal world - even the first scene, where the miniature mosques are being raised, is magical. It was really difficult reading this book at this particular time with what is happening in the news. But, it is also gave me a window into the other side and I am thankful to the author.