Author(s): Zia Haider Rahman
This is a bold, epic debut novel set during the war and financial crisis that defined the beginning of our century. An investment banker approaching forty, in the midst of his career collapsing and marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London townhouse. Confronting the dishevelled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack, the banker recognizes a long-lost college friend. From here, the novel takes us on a journey of exhilarating reach and scope, ranging over Kabul, London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, Princeton, and Sylhet, and dealing with love, philosophy, identity, finance, mathematics, cognitive science, literature, and war. Its framework is an age-old story: the friendship of two men and the betrayal of one by the other. But within this framework the author has touched down on everything important in our young century and has translated all this into his fiction. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic recession, the novel chronicles the lives of people carrying unshakeable legacies of class, culture, and faith as they struggle to tame their futures and as one man attempts to climb clear of his wrong beginnings. In the Light of What We Know is tender, intimate, beautifully fluid, and surprising. Reading it feels like overhearing a conversation that takes you to places you had only glanced at before.
2014 Goldsmiths Prize short list
"'This formidable novel unpacks friendship, betrayal, unknowability - and includes an astute take on Englishness, on class, on mathematical theory, human rights, and whether people can trust their own perception of the world' (Observer) 'Brilliant and heartbreaking, In the Light of What We Know is the first truly great book of the new century.' (Ceridwen Dovey, author of BLOOD KIN: A NOVEL)"
Born in rural Bangladesh, Zia Haider Rahman was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and at Cambridge, Munich, and Yale Universities. He has worked as an investment banker on Wall Street and as an international human-rights lawyer.