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Pankaj Mishra writes:
In October 2001, media reports claimed that tens of thousands of Pakistanis had volunteered to help the victims of the American bombing of Afghanistan. Many of these men (and women), whose fate has remained largely obscure to us, crossed the porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border to fight the invading ‘infidels’; others stayed behind to help arriving refugees. The Blind Man’s Garden, Nadeem Aslam’s fourth novel, and his most ambitious, seeks to describe both the communal nature of war – the bereavements and partings that afflict almost everyone – and the particular experiences of a few individuals in a Pakistani town called Heer. It may take a while to adjust to Aslam’s cast of characters and his premodernist fusion of the individual and the historical more reminiscent of The Charterhouse of Parma than of any contemporary literary novel.