By Nadeem Aslam
Alfred A. Knopf, 367 pages, $26.95
Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden is set in Pakistan after the tragedy of 9/11. Jeo and Mikal grow up together when Jeo’s father essentially adopts Mikal and raises him as his own son. To complicate things, Jeo is married to Naheed but loves Mikal. Naheed’s mother forces her to marry Jeo because he can offer Naheed a better future because he is training to be a doctor. Jeo and Mikal leave their small town in Pakistan to go to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. Their families do not know their true intentions when they leave for their trip. Unfortunately, their father has made enemies and the boys are basically ambushed. While the boys’ families wonder what happened to them, their father goes blind and Naheed is being forced to find a new husband.
Aslam’s story is written very realistically and, as the reader, you feel that you are in the bunkers with the rebels. Some of the torture scenes are almost too graphic to read. The book flips back and forth from past to present and sometimes is difficult to follow. If the Taliban, Afghanistan and the war is of interest to you, you will enjoy this book.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff