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The Blindman's Garden

by Nadeem Aslam

No good comes from the decision of two foster brothers to go to war in Afghanistan. Their experiences are harrowing, the shadow cast over their family in Pakistan grows long and dark. Balanced by delicate explorations of the characters' innermost thoughts and personal relationships, I felt close to them and had to know what happened, fearing the worst, hoping for better. Vivid descriptions of the garden in the title help to lift the spirit.

Extract

He wakes just after dawn when she is collecting fallen mulberries from the grass, the inked blue fruit that the rain has brought down, glossy blue clots, red, green, white, pink, the flesh sweet with sugar, turning the fingers sticky as it is eaten as though they contained blood, leaving stains on the tongue and hands.
He sits up in the chair, wincing from the stiffness and wrapping the sheet around himself against the mild chill. 'I dreamt there was a city of burning minarets.'
She leans against a tree, pushing back strands of loose hair with one hand. 'Are you sure it's not something you saw in real life? The American bombing in Afghanistan? A photograph in a newspaper?'
He shakes his head. The dragon-ridden days of the planet.

Parallels

 

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