My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A deftly and sensitively written novel, set in contemporary Pakistan and Afghanistan, which examines the pressures, complexities and ambiguities of both political and religious issues.
Aslam could have so easily succumbed to stridency and pontification about the Taliban and extremism whether Islamic or Western, and instead delivered an exquisitely heartbreaking story about being human, about what we will endure in the name of love, and about the irrelevance of human life in the face of absolutism. His writing, while subtle and lyrical, never meanders into purple prose, and instead weaves both character and environmental description into a seamless narrative that never flags or become ponderous. His characters are fully realized, lifting off the pages to inhabit the reader’s world as living, breathing entities. His story lingers long after reading.
This is a novel to which I will return again and again, each time finding pleasure in the subtle tragedy Aslam reveals. Highly recommended.