Zia Haider Rahman's astounding debut novel roams from London to Kabul and New York to Islamabad as we listen to one man tell an old friend the story of his life since he disappeared. The characters wrestle with unshakeable legacies of class and culture as the novel pushes at the great questions of love, origins, science, faith and war.

We're delighted it has been shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, which celebrates fiction at its most novel. It sits alongside five other novels on the list, which were whittled down from a huge 119 books submitted. Francis Spufford, chair of the judges, said that all six books mark "high points of change in contemporary writing". Fellow judge Kirsty Gunn said of In the Light of What We Know that it "is doing what the novel has always done best - taking us into a deeply private place wherein, by staying there for a long time to read about the lives of others, we come to speculate upon ourselves. In the case of this novel, though, it does this not by surrounding us with a story we may lose ourselves in but instead requires that we participate in the ordering and arranging of its various kinds of content. One doesn’t just read this book, one reads hard."

>>Read an extract from the book

Also on the shortlist:

Outline by Rachel Cusk
The Absent Therapist by Will Eaves
by Howard Jacobson
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
How to be both by Ali Smith