In the Light of What We Know

  • by Zia Haider Rahman
  • Narrated by Ralph Lister
  • 21 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One September morning in 2008, an investment banker approaching forty, his career in collapse and his marriage unraveling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London townhouse. In the disheveled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack the banker recognizes a long-lost friend, a mathematics prodigy who disappeared years earlier under mysterious circumstances. The friend has resurfaced to make a confession of unsettling power.
In the Light of What We Know takes us on a journey of exhilarating scope-from Kabul to London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, and Princeton-and explores the great questions of love, belonging, science, and war. It is an age-old story: the friendship of two men and the betrayal of one by the other. The visitor seeks atonement, and the narrator sets out to tell his friend's story but finds himself at the limits of what he can know about the world-and, ultimately, himself. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic crisis, this surprisingly tender novel chronicles the lives of people carrying unshakable legacies of class and culture as they struggle to tame their futures.


What the Critics Say

"Beautifully written and renewed evidence that some of the most interesting writing in English is coming from the edges of old empires." (Kirkus Starred Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I have a doctorate in philosophy; I read many, many books; I like serious fiction. I say all that simply to let you know that my feelings about this book are not because I am in any sense anti-intellectual or averse to ambitious fiction. This, however, is fake fiction. It's as if someone had devised some sort of hot air balloon that has just the right contours and just the right behavior to make it appear like a fighter jet on distant radar. This book, with its pretentious epigraphs, its exotic locations, its occasionally inflated vocabulary, its adolescent opining on politics and philosophy, its world weary sophisticates, its post-colonial ambiance is just that sort of hollow fake designed to push the buttons of wanna-be's, middlebrows, and hipsters. But beneath all the posturing, it's basically a not terribly good soap opera. And I suppose that's why I so strongly dislike it: it isn't an honest failure; it's a cynical fraud by someone who likes to play at being a writer but lacks any real inspiration other than a desire to strike poses. I honestly feel like I've been robbed of many hours of my life.
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- sam

Terrible Story, Dreadful Reader

I have never submitted a review on either Audible or Amazon but I hated this book and this reader so much, I am taking the time to submit a review on both sites.

This story is told by two people, constantly switching back and forth, and the narrator was unable to differentiate between the two characters. Audible records books with more than one reader sometimes, this, of all books, should have been done that way.

This author has more airs than Umberto Eco (Who's the Name of the Rose was bearable but whose other books were insufferable). A friend of mine recommended b/c he read the New Yorker article. I gave up after 20 hours b/c I had 36 more to go.
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- Hudson River Reader

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-15-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio