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In the Light of What We Know

3.68 based on 2276 ratings & 365 reviews on Goodreads.com

2015 Long-listed

The Orwell Prize

2015 Long-listed

The Folio Prize

2014 Short-listed

The Goldsmith's Prize

2014 Winner

James Tait Black Prize for Fiction

2014 Short-listed

National Book Awards New Writer of the Year

2014 Long-listed

Guardian First Book Award

Picador

01 January 15
9781447231233
576
£8.99
N/A
N/A

Synopsis

One September morning in 2008, an investment banker approaching forty, his career in collapse and his marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London home. He struggles to place the dishevelled figure carrying a backpack, until he recognizes a friend from his student days, a brilliant man who disappeared years earlier under mysterious circumstances. The friend has resurfaced to make a confession of unsettling power.

Theirs is the age-old story of the bond between two men and the betrayal of one by the other. As the friends begin to talk, and as their room becomes a world, a journey begins that is by turns exhilarating, shocking, intimate and strange. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic crisis, and moving between Kabul, New York, Oxford, London and Islamabad, In the Light of What We Know tells the story of people wrestling with unshakeable legacies of class and culture, and pushes at the great questions of love, origins, science, faith and war.

In an extraordinary feat of imagination, Zia Haider Rahman has woven the seismic upheavals of our young century into a novel of rare compassion, scope, and courage.

In the media

The main reason to get excited over Rahman's emerging presence as a writer are his sentences, ramifying and unraveling to bring in more and more ideas between full-stops in a way that few still alive can command
The Daily Beast
Rahman’s magisterial novel, which bulges with humanity and big ideas, was my favourite read of [2016]. As I have already written, "his story of two life-long friends – both students of mathematics, both from immigrant families – who find themselves variously caught up in the world financial crisis and the unravelling of post-9/11 Afghanistan, drills deeply and rewardingly into the grand themes of life: meaning, identity, loyalty, faith and family"
Guardian
Dazzling . . . astonishingly achieved . . . Rahman proves himself a deep and subtle storyteller . . . a novel unashamed by many varieties of knowledge-its characters talk, brilliantly, about mathematics, philosophy, exile and immigration, warfare, Wall Street and financial trading, contemporary geopolitics, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, English and American society, Islamic terrorism, Western paternalism, Oxford and Yale. Isn't this kind of thinking-worldly and personal, abstract and concrete, essayistic and dramatic-exactly what the novel is for? How it justifies itself as a form? Rahman uses his novel to think hard and well, chiefly about connections among class, knowledge, and belonging. In the Light of What We Know is what Salman Rushdie once called an "everything novel." It is wide-armed, hospitable, disputatious, worldly, cerebral. Ideas and provocations abound on every page.
The New Yorker