The Wasted Vigil

Nadeem Aslam
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ISBN 9780571238774 Format Hardback
Published 04/09/2008 Length 384 pages

About Book

'This land and its killing epochs.'

Nadeem Aslam's dazzling 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. A work of deepest humanity, The Wasted Vigil offers a timely portrait of this region, of love during war and conflict. At once angry, unflinching and memorably beautiful, it marks Nadeem Aslam as a world writer of major importance.

  • About Nadeem Aslam

    Nadeem Aslam is the author of three previous novels, Season of the Rainbirds (1993), Maps for Lost Lovers (2004) - longlisted for the Booker Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC Prize, and awarded the Kiriyama Prize and the Encore Award - and, most recently, The Wasted Vigil, described by A. S. Byatt as 'unforgettable ... tragic and beautifully written'. Born in Pakistan, he now lives in England and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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