The Wasted Vigil
In The Wasted Vigil, Nadeem Aslam, the award-winning author of Maps for Lost Lovers, brilliantly knits together five seemingly unconnected lives to create a luminous story set in contemporary Afghanistan.There’s Marcus, an English expat who was married to an outspoken Afghani doctor; David, a former American spy; Lara, from St. Petersburg, looking for traces of her brother, a Russian soldier who disappeared years before; Casa, a young Afghani whose hatred of the Americans has plunged him into the blinding depths of zealotry; and James, an American Special Forces soldier. Aslamreveals the intertwining paths that these characters have traveled, constructing a timely and intimate portrait of the complex ties that bind us and the wars that continue to tear us apart.
Kiriyama-winner Aslam (Maps for Lost Lovers) takes an ambitious and moving look at the human cost of Afghanistan's war-torn reality. Marcus, a British doctor, lives near Jalalabad and quietly mourns the loss of his Afghan wife, their grown daughter and his hand to the Taliban and tribal warring. His houseguests includes Lara, a Russian woman searching for the truth about her soldier brother's disappearance, and David, a formerly zealous CIA operative whose love for Marcus's murdered daughter binds him to the older man as they search for her missing son. There's a tremendous tension in the first half of the book as the connections between the characters and the country are built up, and Aslam exploits the setup perfectly when a cast of younger characters a fervent jihadi, a charismatic but arrogant American soldier, a rebellious local schoolteacher arrive at the house and bring danger with them. Lyrical but not overwritten, the novel creates an unflinchingly clear picture of a country whose history of strife is still being written.
A Moving Work
I finished this powerful work last spring. The beautiful language is evident to anyone simply by reading the sample, which I highly reccomend you do. The tragically beautiful setting is a powerful canvas upon which the story’s many plot lines weave and collide with one another, creating a masterpiece that moved me to tears. Please read.