by Nadeem Aslam - £8.99 Faber and Faber (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780571238804 | ISBN 10: 0571238807
'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' 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 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.
(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)