- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (2 Jun. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571221831
- ISBN-13: 978-0571221837
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Maps for Lost Lovers Paperback – 2 Jun 2005
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Maps for Lost Lovers is a stunningly brave and searingly brutal novel charting a year in the life of a working class community from the subcontinent--a group described by author Nadeem Aslam as "Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Sri Lankans living in a northern town". The older residents, who have left their homelands for the riches of England, have communally dubbed it Dasht-e-Tanhaii, which roughly translates as "the wilderness of solitude" or "the desert of loneliness". As the seasons change, from the first crystal flakes of snow that melt into "a monsoon raindrop", we slowly learn the fate of Jugnu and Chanda, a couple whose disappearance is rumoured to have been a result of their fatal decision to live in sin in a community where the phrase holds true meaning.
This uncompromisingly honest--and often uncomfortable to read--story is told through the eyes of Jugnu's brother's family who live next door. Shamas is director of the local Community Relations Council; a liberal, educated man he still mourns the passing of communism and yearns for passion in his later years. His wife Kaukub, daughter of a Pakistani cleric, is also in mourning for the passing of her devout Muslim upbringing and is forced to watch her three children turn "native". She tries increasingly desperate measures to turn them back to Islam. Pakistani-born Nadeem Aslam skilfully intertwines myths and legends with a harsh, modern reality. Tragic sub-plots of Romeo-and-Juliet proportions abound. And while some of the extended descriptive passages sit uneasily on the page and, towards the end, several rants against Islam forced through the mouths of characters become thinly-veiled lectures, nevertheless Maps for Lost Lovers is an epic work and an important milestone in British literature that deserves to be widely read by all multicultural societies seeking mutual tolerance and understanding. --Carey Green
"'Despite the violence that lies at the heart of the novel, it is a celebration of love and life... This is that rare sort of book that gives a voice to those whose voices are seldom heard.' Observer; 'Nadeem Aslam is a genuinely exciting new voice, lively, confident, uninhibited and ambitious. This is one of the most impressive... novels of recent years' Salman Rushdie"See all Product description
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I loved the many metaphors, Sohni Darti - beautiful land, Dashte-Tanhai - land of the lonely. Jugni (jugnu) - in the east used to described ones spirit, also a firefly.
I did find the ending rushed, compared to the initial pace. What happens to the all the characters, after the truth is out about feels almost like a news report. Without saying too much I wondered why the house didn't give away more clues as to what happened to Jugnu and Chanda. So much of the book resonates with me, especially after moving from a big city and liberal Pakistani family to such a community 13 years ago, the idiosyncrasies of a close knit traditional culture of when I first moved here only just making sense to me now. I recommend this, whether you're Pakistani/Indian or not.
However, the novel has great strengths too, especially in the presentation of Kaukab, the devout mother of the dysfunctional Muslim family at the heart of the novel. She represents both deep maternal love for her family and children and also for her religion. This causes her problems because the children are living in a northern British town with the opportunities for education and sexual freedom that are anathema to her. Their lives are very different to her own life in Pakistan where she had little formal education after the age of 11 before coming to the UK after her own arranged marriage. Kaukab has strongly held, uncompromising religious beliefs and In trying to reconcile her faith and keep her children on the path of her religion, she hurts and alienates them and as adults, and they deeply resent her and refuse to see her.
The portrait of a Pakistani community in the Northern England is insightful, terrifying in its internal surveillance and shocking in its presentation of subjects like ‘honour killings’ and race relations.
This book really captures the lives of the immigrants from Pakistan and how they have adjusted to 'English' life. Throughout the book there is this tension between the older generation who have difficulty letting go of their own parochial mentality and the younger generation, who were born in the UK, able to embrace this new culture and are more open minded. Majority of the older Pakistanis are Muslims and so they see that their young is being strayed away not only from their mother culture but religion as well, an attack on two fronts
I shan't say too much, but this book really resonates with me (being a Muslim of Pakistani ethnicity but born in England) and this book exemplifies how mainly the younger generation of Asian Muslims are caught between two cultures.
A real pleasure to read. This book is an eye opener, especially for western audiences
'Maps for lost Lovers' has a strong plot,vibrant characters and an intriguing setting. But although the language is poetic, beautiful and always relevant to the story, the sheer quantity of it means the book becomes laboured. )I managed three-quarters before starting to skip.)
The protagonist and his values seem to vanish towards the end, to be replaced with a lengthy synopsis of the story and its background. The drama of the his affair becomes swamped in---once again---an over-indulgence in words.
This book has given me a clearer insight into what everyday living of an Islamic existence may be like, especially in the UK. This has been of great value and interest. The book has value here, and in its language, but one can be over-fed on good things.
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