The Wasted Vigil

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Vintage International, 2009 - Fiction - 319 pages
Nadeem Aslam's new novel takes place in modern-day Afghanistan. A Russian woman named Lara arrives at the house of Marcus Caldwell, an Englishman and widower living in an old perfume factory in the shadow of the Tora Bora mountains. It is possible that Marcus's daughter, Zameen, may have known Lara's brother, a Soviet soldier who disappeared in the area many years previously. But like Marcus's wife, Zameen is dead, a victim of the age in which she was born. In the days that follow, further people will arrive at the house: David Town and James Palantine, two Americans who have spent much of their adult lives in the area, for their respective reasons; Dunia, a young Afghan teacher; and Casa, a radicalised young man intent on his own path. The stories and histories that unfold, interweaving and overlapping, and spanning nearly a quarter of a century, tell of the terrible afflictions that have plagued Afghanistan.

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User Review  - Kirkus

Afghanistan's ancient culture is juxtaposed with its brutal recent political past in a fine novel by the Pakistani-born writer (Maps for Lost Lovers, 2005, etc.).Complexity, beauty, violence and ... Read full review

The wasted vigil

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

English-born doctor James Marcus has made Afghanistan his home, having married an Afghan woman named Qatrina, also a doctor. Qatrina was stoned to death by the Taliban (she's an adulteress, having ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Nadeem Aslam is the author of two previous novels, both of which were long-listed for the Man Booker Prize: Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kiriyama Prize and a New York Times Notable Book, and Season of the Rainbirds. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Born in Pakistan, he now lives in England.

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