The Wasted Vigil

Author(s): Nadeem Aslam


A Russian woman named Lara arrives in Afghanistan at the house of Marcus Caldwell, an Englishman and widower living in the shadow of the Tora Bora mountains. Marcus' daughter, Zameen, may have known Lara's brother, a Soviet soldier who disappeared in the area many years previously. But like Marcus' wife, Zameen is dead; a victim of the age in which she was born. In the days that follow, further people arrive at the house: two Americans who have spent much of their adult lives in the area; a young Afghan teacher; and a radicalized young man intent on his own path. And Nadeem Aslam paints a moving, beautiful and powerful portrait of a land and a people torn apart through love and war.


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A devastatingly moving and beautiful novel of family secrets, forbidden love and the tragedy and consequences of war.

Sal writes: Aslam says that "the novelist's job is not to pose solutions, but to find out how best to live" and as in his previous novel, Maps for Lost Lovers, he explores the struggle to hold on to god. This very moving novel revolves around five people with opposing ideological positions. A Russian woman in search of her brother, an American gem merchant, a young Afghani teacher and a radicalized Afghani boy all meet at the home of the English perfume maker, widower Marcus Caldicott. While the evocation of present-day Afghanistan is unspeakably sad, redemption comes in haunting glimpses of the eternal beauty of the land and kindness remaining in the men and women drawn together in their various searches, friends becoming family.

Nadeem Aslam is the author of the highly acclaimed Season of the Rainbirds (1993) and most recently Maps for Lost Lovers (2004), which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, shorltisted for the IMPAC Prize and was awarded the Kiriyama Prize and the Encore Award. He was named Decibel Writer of the Year in 2005. Born in Pakistan, he now lives in England.

General Fields

  • : 9780571238804
  • : Faber & Faber
  • : Faber & Faber
  • : May 2009
  • : 198mm X 126mm X 28mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nadeem Aslam
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 448
  • : General & literary fiction; Classic fiction