The Golden Legend

  • Title: The Golden Legend
  • Author: Nadeem Aslam
  • ISBN: 9780451493781
  • Page: 259
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Golden Legend 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
    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 isA 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.

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      Published :2019-01-12T20:04:26+00:00

    About Nadeem Aslam


    1. Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14 His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia s regime.His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him than a decade to complete Aslam has stated that the first chapter alone took five years to complete, and that the following story in the book took seven months to complete before rejecting it At the end, he kept only one sentence of the seventy pages written Aslam s latest novel, The Wasted Vigil, was published by Alfred A Knopf in September, 2008 It is set in Afghanistan He traveled to Afghanistan during the writing of the book but had never visited the country before writing the first draft On 11th February 2011, it was short listed for the Warwick Prize For Writing.His writings have been compared to those by Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kiran Desai and received an Encore in 2005 He writes his drafts in longhand and prefers extreme isolation when working Aslam currently lives in north London.


    819 Comments


    1. [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.

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    2. 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.

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    3. 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 dystop [...]

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    4. 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 storie [...]

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    5. 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 [...]

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    6. 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.

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    7. 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 combi [...]

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    8. 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 [...]

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    9. (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.

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    10. 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 h [...]

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    11. 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 s [...]

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    12. 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.

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    13. 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 t [...]

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    14. 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 kilometerslang [...]

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    15. 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 towa [...]

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    16. 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.

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    17. 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 unt [...]

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    18. 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 [...]

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    19. 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 b [...]

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    20. 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.

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    21. 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.

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

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    23. 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 [...]

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

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    25. Please read all of my reviews at ultraviolentlit!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, [...]

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    26. 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!

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    27. " 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: religi [...]

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    28. 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 [...]

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    29. 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 [...]

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    30. The Golden Legend is rich in symbolism, most powerfully through the book, written by his father, which Massud was holding at the moment of his death. Having been hacked through by the visiting intelligence officer, Nargis and her young friends painstakingly sew the pages back together with gold-coloured thread. The book, its title That They Might Know Each Other inspired by a verse in the Koran, traces the interconnections between disparate cultures across geography and time.Full review annegood [...]

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