We are temporarily only able to ship Faber Shop orders to addresses in the UK.
‘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.
Lyrical but not overwritten, the novel creates an unflinchingly clear picture of a country whose strife is still being written.
Arguably the best novel available on the current situation in the Middle East. The jihadists, the warlords, the crusading Americans - all are given voice in calm, relentless, shatteringly beautiful prose that reveals the essential wrongness of the current conflict from every angle. There's no whitewash or caricature here, just authentic writing that delivers the world - and a range of extraordinary characters. Highly recommended.
Complexity, beauty, violence and tragedy mark the pages of Aslam's affecting story ... An intense, empathetic, magisterial interpretation of clashing beliefs and entwined fates, in a harsh and ruined, yet lovely place.
Browse a selection of books we think you might also like, with genre matches and a few wildcards thrown in.