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The Golden Legend: A novel
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2017
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When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road in the fictional Pakistani city of Zamara, Nargis’s life begins to crumble around her. Soon her husband—and fellow architect—is dead and, under threat from a powerful military intelligence officer, she fears that a long-hidden truth about her past will 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. A revelatory portrait of the human spirit, in The Golden Legend, Nadeem Aslam gives us a novel of Pakistan’s past and present—a story of corruption and resilience, of love and terror, and of the disguises that are sometimes necessary for survival.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/18/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780451493798
ASIN:
B01IZTCC1M
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APA Citation (style guide)

Nadeem Aslam. (2017). The Golden Legend: A novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Nadeem Aslam. 2017. The Golden Legend: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Nadeem Aslam, The Golden Legend: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Nadeem Aslam. The Golden Legend: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Updated:
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creators
      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Aslam, Nadeem
      • bioText: Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan and now lives in England. He is the author of four previous novels, most recently The Blind Man's Garden. His work has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and has won the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, the Encore Award, the Windham-Campbell Prize, and the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
      • name: Nadeem Aslam
imprint
Vintage
publishDate
2017-04-18T05:00:00+01:00
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title
The Golden Legend
fullDescription
When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road in the fictional Pakistani city of Zamara, Nargis’s life begins to crumble around her. Soon her husband—and fellow architect—is dead and, under threat from a powerful military intelligence officer, she fears that a long-hidden truth about her past will 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. A revelatory portrait of the human spirit, in The Golden Legend, Nadeem Aslam gives us a novel of Pakistan’s past and present—a story of corruption and resilience, of love and terror, and of the disguises that are sometimes necessary for survival.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Powerful and engrossing. . . . [Aslam] writes with great sensitivity and depth."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Boston Globe
      • content: "Stunning. . . . [The Golden Legend is] masterful and compelling fiction, intricately layering symbols and parallels, unspooling its plot in dramatic twists until the very last sentence."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Washington Post
      • content: "A powerful and timely comment on the precarious state of religious minorities in Pakistan and an honest mirror to the Pakistani state and society."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: "Beautifully imagined."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Economist
      • content: "Remarkable. . . . The Golden Legend is extravagant with imagery and elaborate with metaphor."
      • premium: False
      • source: O, The Oprah Magazine
      • content: "A heart-pounding and timely novel about kinship and resilience."
      • premium: False
      • source: Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch
      • content: "A magical book. . . . Aslam's writing is lyrical and expansive. . . . He's a brilliant novelist, one of two or three truly great writers in the world today. His work reminds me of Orhan Pamuk at an earlier stage of his career. And, yes, like Pamuk, Nadeem Aslam ought to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature."
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: "At once a coming-of-age love story, a study of loss, and a lucid portrait of the conflicts pervading contemporary Pakistan. . . . Aslam's crystalline prose and emotionally nuanced characters give his novel a wide resonance. . . . Though unsparing in its depiction of the brutal exercise of power, this is also a paean to human resilience."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from February 27, 2017
        Aslam’s exquisite, luminous novel is set in the imaginary city of Samara, somewhere in northern Pakistan between Kashmir and the border of Afghanistan. Nargis, an architect, has lost her husband, Massud, to a rogue American bullet, which hit him as he passed books in a human chain to a new library that he and Nargis designed. Their Christian ex-servant, Lily, and his daughter, Helen, whom Nargis and Massud have nurtured intellectually and whose mother was murdered by a Muslim, live next door. Helen falls in love with a Kashmiri named Imran, who turns up at Nargis’s house one day, having escaped from a group of jihadists with whom he trained. Bigotry frequently erupts into violence in their district, and each of these characters will suffer. Nargis is pressured by a military intelligence agent to forgive her husband’s murderer for blood money. Helen is pursued for blasphemous journalism. Lily, a Christian, and his lover, the widowed daughter of a local Muslim cleric, are exposed and pursued by a mob, which burns down their neighborhood. Lily disappears, and Nargis, Helen, and Imran flee to a secluded island, where they begin a strange but lovely idyll of love and friendship that sharply contrasts with what surrounds them. Hidden, the three lovingly repair a book written by Massud’s father that was torn to pieces by the authorities, using golden thread to stitch its pages together again. The Pakistan depicted in this harrowing novel is unbearably wrenched apart by terror and prejudice, but the dignity of Aslam’s (The Blind Man’s Garden) characters and their devotion to one another rises far above the violence.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from February 15, 2017
        "This world is the last thing God will ever tell us": an aching, lyrical story of schisms and secrets in present-day Pakistan.Nargis has something to tell, a secret that she has been carrying for a lifetime. "She had succeeded in concealing herself in the false story she had constructed," writes Aslam (The Blind Man's Garden, 2013, etc.), having already suggested why there are many good reasons to hide inside inventions in a Pakistan that is increasingly torn apart by sectarian strife, the muezzin's call punctuated by denunciations of romance across religious lines as gentle young scholars rush to join the jihadis. There is much violence: Nargis' Christian housekeepers are still mourning the loss of one of their own, murdered by a man just recently freed from prison as a reward for having memorized the Quran, and now Nargis must deal with grief herself, her husband caught in the crossfire of a gunfight involving a "large healthily built white man." She has barely a moment to mourn when Pakistani military intelligence agents are at her door to demand that she forgive the American for the death--a demand that carries the implication that if she does not comply, her secret will come spilling out to destroy the rest of her family. Aslam's story has all the gravity of a tragedy and one of many dimensions: Nargis' island retreat, once a place of calm where a church and a Hindu temple stood alongside a mosque, is riven by people seeking difference in the place of similarity, as she wonders, "Which God or Gods had built that world?" And indeed, tucked away inside Aslam's quietly unwinding narrative are snippets of and allusions to religious tales that speak to the wisdom of earlier days--the title itself is one of them--against the unwisdom of our own. Brooding and beautiful: a mature, assured story of the fragility of the world and of ourselves.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 15, 2017
        The Pakistan of memory, with its relative tolerance, collides with the harsh realities of modern Pakistan in Aslam's (The Blind Man's Garden, 2013) aching lamentation. Massud and Narghis are husband-and-wife architects and guardians of a treasured library. But when Massud is killed in an altercation involving an American spy, a Pakistani intelligence officer turns ruthless in his insistence that Narghis publicly forgive the attacker. Meanwhile, Narghis' adopted daughter, Helen, a journalist who was born Christian but pretends to be Muslim, falls in love with Imran, a Kashmiri gone AWOL from a terrorist training camp. Together they shelter in the remains of an island mosque that the architects, in a moment of idealism, had designed to bring rival sects together in ecumenical worship. But even there, they cannot find sanctuary. The plot pivots on acts of cruelty and political violence, but the moments in between are wistful, languid, and suffused with longing for a gentler time. Carefully constructed and thoughtful, this is, one senses, a highly personal work for Aslam, whose family was forced to leave Pakistan.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2016

        Twice long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, the brilliantly nuanced Aslam tells the story of Nargis, devastated when her husband is killed on the Grand Trunk Road before she can reveal a dark secret. And no wonder. Not only is military intelligence pressuring her to forgive her husband's American killer, but people's secrets are being mysteriously broadcast from the minaret of the local mosque, with a forbidden romance between a Muslim cleric's daughter and Nargis's Christian neighbor stirring special trouble.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from February 15, 2017

        On the day of his death, Massud awoke to the muezzin's call to prayer and the smell of baking bread, a fragrance, he had read, that instills kindness in human beings. There are many acts of generosity in this exquisite novel, though they are equaled by the treachery and corruption common to this Punjab region of northern Pakistan, where Muslims and Christians live warily side by side. Massud's grieving widow, Nargis, refuses to accept blood money from the state in exchange for her absolution of the American who shot her husband, causing the authorities to investigate this difficult woman, who may be harboring a blasphemous secret. Her intransigence draws adverse scrutiny to the Christian family who lives next door, a young woman named Helen and her widowed father, Lily, who is in a forbidden relationship with the imam's daughter. Through the reminiscences of each of these deeply sympathetic characters, Aslam (The Blind Man's Garden; The Wasted Vigil) elucidates the history of occupation and division that has influenced Pakistan's current climate of religious intolerance. VERDICT Man Booker Prize long-listed and Dublin short-listed Aslam uses lush, sensuous prose to create beauty from ugliness, calm from chaos, and love from hatred, offering hope to believers and nonbelievers alike. This thoughtful, thought-provoking read will enthrall lovers of international fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 10/17/16.]--Sally Bissell, formerly with Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2017

        On the day of his death, Massud awoke to the muezzin's call to prayer and the smell of baking bread, a fragrance, he had read, that instills kindness in human beings. There are many acts of generosity in this exquisite novel, though they are equaled by the treachery and corruption common to this Punjab region of northern Pakistan, where Muslims and Christians live warily side by side. Massud's grieving widow, Nargis, refuses to accept blood money from the state in exchange for her absolution of the American who shot her husband, causing the authorities to investigate this difficult woman, who may be harboring a blasphemous secret. Her intransigence draws adverse scrutiny to the Christian family who lives next door, a young woman named Helen and her widowed father, Lily, who is in a forbidden relationship with the imam's daughter. Through the reminiscences of each of these deeply sympathetic characters, Aslam (The Blind Man's Garden; The Wasted Vigil) elucidates the history of occupation and division that has influenced Pakistan's current climate of religious intolerance. VERDICT Man Booker Prize long-listed and Dublin short-listed Aslam uses lush, sensuous prose to create beauty from ugliness, calm from chaos, and love from hatred, offering hope to believers and nonbelievers alike. This thoughtful, thought-provoking read will enthrall lovers of international fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 10/17/16.]--Sally Bissell, formerly with Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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When shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road in the fictional Pakistani city of Zamara, Nargis’s life begins to crumble around her. Soon her husband—and fellow architect—is dead and, under threat from a powerful military intelligence officer, she fears that a long-hidden truth about her past will 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. A revelatory portrait of the human spirit, in The Golden Legend, Nadeem Aslam gives us a novel of Pakistan’s past and present—a story of corruption and resilience, of love and terror, and of the disguises that are sometimes necessary for survival.
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