To enter Nadeem Aslam's world is to enter a darker, more perfectly
rendered world than our own. Here, cemeteries are 'bone forests,'
night insects have knees and elbows of 'finest wire,' memories rise
'like bruises' and the mountains ripple like 'sapphire water.' The
characters that inhabit this world are also deftly drawn, and they
echo familiar people and situations. Yet, they are distinctly
different; each character is a stereotype unwrapped, a mysterious
personality revealed. What we think we know about Aslam's characters
in the beginning, we learn by the end is merely superficial.
The Wasted Vigil
explores the relationship between six tragic
people in Afghanistan. Marcus, Lara, David, Casa, Dunia, and James
come together in Marcus's house to wait. Each is searching for
something, but as the title...
Beyond the Book
Afghanistan 1979 - 1994
At the beginning of the novel, Lara, a character reminiscent, in
her painful past and gracefulness, of Lara in Dr. Zhivago,
arrives on Marcus's doorstep to uncover the fate of her brother
Benedikt, who came to Afghanistan with the 1979 Soviet invasion...
The Soviets invaded Afghanistan at the request of the largely
unpopular, pro-Soviet Afghan government, who sought military
assistance against the Mujahideen* (various Afghan opposition groups
who eventually formed one aligned political bloc). The Mujahideen
were partially funded by the CIA during the Carter and Reagan
administrations, and by a number of other countries. In 1979, the
Soviet Union intervened to maintain the...