See the Roses
I first read one of Nadeem Aslam’s novels while I was in grad school. He had a reading, and one thing I remember is that he lives in England and never leaves his apartment. He sleeps during the day and writes all night. His sister and brother-in-law come every week to bring him groceries, and I guess, make sure he’s not dead. Regardless of his crazy writing habits, his work is amazing. I strongly encourage you to read Maps for Lost Lovers and The Wasted Vigil if you haven’t.
I found out that Aslam had a new novel out: The Blind Man’s Garden and once again, it was everything I had hoped to experience from his storytelling. The novel is set in Pakistan just after 9/11, following new wars in Afghanistan, the hidden Taliban supporters, and those Pakistanis lost in between it all. Two young men, Jeo and Mikal, venture into Afghanistan in order to aid the wounded, but things unwravel quickly.
Aslam’s stories are anything but intense, and I feel they might shed more truth to how devastating things can be in places labeled to Americans as “the enemy.” For me, his novels show a glimmer of hope amongst hopeless circumstances. In The Blind Man’s Garden, I feel I could have a heated conversation about the ambiguous ending, an ending that I believe shows our own personality within our interpretation.