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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

Maps for Lost Lovers

by

Maps for Lost Lovers Cover

ISBN13: 9781400042425
ISBN10: 1400042429
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jugnu and his lover, Chanda, have disappeared.

Though unmarried, they had been living together, embracing the contemporary mores of the English town where they lived but disgracing themselves in the eyes of their close-knit Pakistani community. Rumors about their disappearance abound, but five months go by before anything certain is known. Finally, on a snow-covered January morning, Chanda's brothers are arrested for the murder of their sister and Jugnu.

Shock and disbelief spread through the community, and for Jugnu's brother, Shamas, and his wife, Kaukab, it is a moment that marks the beginning of the unraveling of all that is sacred to them. As the novel unfolds over the next twelve months, we watch Kaukab struggle to maintain her Islamic piety as the effects of the double murder prove increasingly corrosive to the life of her family.

Upon its publication last year in England, Alan Hollinghurst praised Maps for Lost Lovers as "haunting, vivid, and tender," and Colm Tóibín hailed it as "a superb achievement, a book in which every detail is nuanced, every piece of drama carefully choreographed, even minor characters carefully drawn." Beautifully written, emotionally and sensually arresting — "a Persian love poem for the twenty-first century" (Books Quarterly) — this deeply felt and moving novel explores the heart of a family at the crossroads of culture, nationality, religion, and the most personal crises of faith. Maps for Lost Lovers introduces American readers to a magnificent voice in fiction.

Review:

"In this poignant, lushly written novel, Aslam (Season of the Rainbirds) explores the interwoven lives of Pakistani immigrants in an English town they have rechristened Dasht-e-Tanhaii, 'the Wilderness of Solitude' or 'the Desert of Loneliness.' The disappearance of Jugnu and Chanda, lovers who broke Islamic law to live in sin, throws the small community into upheaval. The police arrest Chanda's brothers, whom they believe murdered the couple to avenge their family's shame. Meanwhile, Jugnu's brother, Shamas, contemplates the loss, occasionally clashing with his wife, Kaukab, a devout Muslim who overtly disapproved of the relationship. Aslam depicts an insular ex-pat Pakistani community fighting to preserve its cultural heritage and losing the battle to its Western-born children — often quite violently. At the heart of the turmoil is sexual freedom, and Aslam illustrates the many ways women's lives are restricted and romantic love is denied in the name of religion. At times, Aslam's critique grows didactic, as when he saddles his characters with long stretches of wooden, philosophical dialogue. But in Kaukab, the lonely, sympathetic believer who inadvertently alienated her own children, Aslam personifies the conflicts of acculturation, crafting a truthful story that resists easy conclusions." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"It depicts an extraordinary panorama of life within a Muslim community....Thoughtful, revealing, lushly written and painful, this timely book deserves the widest audience." David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten

Review:

"A superb achievement, a book in which every detail is nuanced, every piece of drama carefully choreographed, even minor characters carefully drawn." Colm Tóibín, author of The Master and Blackwater Lightship

Review:

"Haunting. [Aslam?s] vivid and tender portrait of the strict Islamic mother, isolated by her unassailable belief, has stayed with me; as has his metamorphosis of a Northern English town into a poet?s universe of flowers, trees and butterflies." Alan Hollinghurst, author of The Line of Beauty and The Swimming Pool Library

Review:

"A striking and impressive novel." The Sunday Times

Review:

"Rich in detail, languid in cadence and iridescent with remarkable images...Aslam takes us by the hand and, scattering his trail of bewitching images, leads us into his story...Rarely does Aslam put a foot wrong. This is that rare sort of book that gives a voice to those whose voices are seldom heard." The Observer

Review:

"Maps for Lost Lovers is a work of great courage both technically and spiritually...Stylistically the novel is equally daring...A filigree of quests for loves that never were, of passions cut short and of romances that are about to be. I was heartbroken when the dense, dark tapestry was finished." The Independent

Review:

"An extraordinary work, echoing Rohinton Mistry and Salman Rushdie, but entirely, and unmistakably, the product of a wholly original mind." The Herald

Review:

"In this book, filled with stories of cruelty, injustice, bigotry and ignorance, love never steps out of the picture — it gleams at the edges of even the deepest wounds...[a] remarkable achievment." The Guardian

Review:

"Maps for Lost Lovers is a novel of extraordinary quality. Islamists would be foolish to try and make political mischief out of it, while western readers would be foolish to ignore such a carefully crafted work." The Economist

Review:

"This is a Persian love poem for the 21st century, and Aslam is an author to watch." Books Quarterly

Review:

"Aslam's prose soars, dazzling images abound....Through the opulence of his writing and the darkness of his message Aslam quite brilliantly and shockingly seduces his reader...Beautiful and only too real, this story born of romance and pain matches its artistry with courage. It is an important novel and also a very fine one." The Irish Times

About the Author

Nadeem Aslam is the author of the award-winning novel Season of the Rainbirds. Born in Pakistan, he now lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

swanlust, October 22, 2006 (view all comments by swanlust)
Maps for a Lost Generation

A book review of Nadeem Aslam?s ?Maps for Lost Lovers?

Reading this book for me was like eating a bowl of 'gulaab jaamans'* after a two day fast; sinfully pleasurable, drowning in sheera, oozing forth warmth and sticky sweetness, intensely gratifying in its every mouthful; but at the same time exhausting and devastating in its after effects.

Seriously speaking, from what I understand, it took Nadeem Aslam more than eleven years to bring this story to life; and it shows. Every sentence, every word in this novel bears witness to the painstaking effort that he has put into writing this literal work of art. I can't recall of any emerging modern day English author of Pakistani origin who has produced a work of fiction of this quality before.

?Maps for Lost Lovers? attempts to take a close look at the lives, beliefs and ideas etched in the minds of the Pakistani immigrant community in the UK. It brings together a cast of powerful, thought provoking, but ultimately doomed characters, who, through their well intentioned but misguided beliefs and actions end up destroying not only their own lives, but also the lives of those nearest and dearest to them. From the ultra orthodox Kaukab to the gentle Shamas to the damned Suraya, Nadeem Aslam has gone to great lengths to develop and capture the nuances and subtleties of his creations, whose lonely souls, trapped in internal conflict, seem to drift in eternal exile through the ruthless Dasht-e-Tanhai, The Desert of Loneliness (physically an immigrant town situated somewhere in the bleak English midlands). While the main theme of the story revolves around an honour killing, the book attempts to explore several other complex issues including racism, religion, fidelity, sex and of course isolation.

The author?s rich, lush and poetic style of writing makes this a must read. Nadeem's inspiration appears to stem from the deep personal turmoil, confusion and ultimately rebellion that he must have experienced growing up as part of a conservative lower middle class Pakistani ?migr? family in the UK. This personal experience, mixed with a style of writing influenced heavily by Eastern/ Persian poetry and prose, make for a beautiful, but tragic read. Through this book I believe Nadeem voices the perspective of, and expresses the confusion and social persecution suffered by, the lost generation of British born children of Pakistani labour class immigrants of the 1970's. Torn between the conflicting ideals of the world they were growing up in and the time warped moralities imposed by their isolated families, the children of this generation have had the misfortune of experiencing a massive identity crisis, which even today is making its uneasy presence felt across the UK, and in some ways across the world.

I would gladly have given this book five stars had it not been for the relentless attack that Nadeem launches on Pakistani immigrants and Islam. The persistent Pakistani and Islam bashing is not only detracting from the main story, but also at times quite exaggerated and factually incorrect (I have never before heard of people exhaling thrice to ward off the devil, or reciting religious verses before ejaculating). Such extreme mind sets are very much the exception rather than the norm, contrary to what has been portrayed in the book. The writer?s personal bias is far too evident, and adds a hint of immaturity to a work that is otherwise captivating, and at times haunting, in its exquisite detail and beauty. Nadeem also employs an overwhelming amount of metaphor as a part of his expression. Some may find this to be integral and indispensable to the whole ?feel? of the novel, while others may find it nauseating (I fortunately am amongst the first group).

In any case, I would recommend 'Maps for Lost Lovers' to all who may be interested in reading it, and especially to the Pakistani community living in both Britain and in Pakistan itself; there is a need to address the social and psychological issues explored in its theme, and the resolution of these issues can only originate from within the community. It is also refreshing to discover that in this commercialized, disposable, ?to go? world there are still people dedicated so utterly, completely and passionately to their chosen vocation. I would strongly encourage Pakistanis and all else to support talented and dedicated individuals like Nadeem Aslam by going out and buying a copy of ?Maps for Lost Lovers? at their first ?instante?.

* If you haven?t eaten these, you haven?t been born yet


Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
mehr55, April 11, 2006 (view all comments by mehr55)
Brilliant protrayal of pakistani community within the confines of industrial Englad. Clash between generation, cultures and ideology comes through to rip your heart out from the pages and squeeze all your conserved emotion.
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(10 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400042425
Author:
Aslam, Nadeem
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Married women
Subject:
Muslim women
Copyright:
Publication Date:
May 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.36x6.62x1.28 in. 1.56 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Maps for Lost Lovers Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9781400042425 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this poignant, lushly written novel, Aslam (Season of the Rainbirds) explores the interwoven lives of Pakistani immigrants in an English town they have rechristened Dasht-e-Tanhaii, 'the Wilderness of Solitude' or 'the Desert of Loneliness.' The disappearance of Jugnu and Chanda, lovers who broke Islamic law to live in sin, throws the small community into upheaval. The police arrest Chanda's brothers, whom they believe murdered the couple to avenge their family's shame. Meanwhile, Jugnu's brother, Shamas, contemplates the loss, occasionally clashing with his wife, Kaukab, a devout Muslim who overtly disapproved of the relationship. Aslam depicts an insular ex-pat Pakistani community fighting to preserve its cultural heritage and losing the battle to its Western-born children — often quite violently. At the heart of the turmoil is sexual freedom, and Aslam illustrates the many ways women's lives are restricted and romantic love is denied in the name of religion. At times, Aslam's critique grows didactic, as when he saddles his characters with long stretches of wooden, philosophical dialogue. But in Kaukab, the lonely, sympathetic believer who inadvertently alienated her own children, Aslam personifies the conflicts of acculturation, crafting a truthful story that resists easy conclusions." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "It depicts an extraordinary panorama of life within a Muslim community....Thoughtful, revealing, lushly written and painful, this timely book deserves the widest audience."
"Review" by , "A superb achievement, a book in which every detail is nuanced, every piece of drama carefully choreographed, even minor characters carefully drawn."
"Review" by , "Haunting. [Aslam?s] vivid and tender portrait of the strict Islamic mother, isolated by her unassailable belief, has stayed with me; as has his metamorphosis of a Northern English town into a poet?s universe of flowers, trees and butterflies."
"Review" by , "A striking and impressive novel."
"Review" by , "Rich in detail, languid in cadence and iridescent with remarkable images...Aslam takes us by the hand and, scattering his trail of bewitching images, leads us into his story...Rarely does Aslam put a foot wrong. This is that rare sort of book that gives a voice to those whose voices are seldom heard."
"Review" by , "Maps for Lost Lovers is a work of great courage both technically and spiritually...Stylistically the novel is equally daring...A filigree of quests for loves that never were, of passions cut short and of romances that are about to be. I was heartbroken when the dense, dark tapestry was finished."
"Review" by , "An extraordinary work, echoing Rohinton Mistry and Salman Rushdie, but entirely, and unmistakably, the product of a wholly original mind."
"Review" by , "In this book, filled with stories of cruelty, injustice, bigotry and ignorance, love never steps out of the picture — it gleams at the edges of even the deepest wounds...[a] remarkable achievment."
"Review" by , "Maps for Lost Lovers is a novel of extraordinary quality. Islamists would be foolish to try and make political mischief out of it, while western readers would be foolish to ignore such a carefully crafted work."
"Review" by , "This is a Persian love poem for the 21st century, and Aslam is an author to watch."
"Review" by , "Aslam's prose soars, dazzling images abound....Through the opulence of his writing and the darkness of his message Aslam quite brilliantly and shockingly seduces his reader...Beautiful and only too real, this story born of romance and pain matches its artistry with courage. It is an important novel and also a very fine one."
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