GW's inaugural British Council Writer in Residence Nadeem Aslam's newest novel, The Wasted Vigil has just been released. Mr. Aslam read from the novel at the numerous events that the English department hosted to celebrate his residency, and I, like many of those I talked to, was greatly impressed by his reading of the first chapter. The novel follows the lives of six individuals, brought together in a house in rural Afghanistan. The novel confronts the legacy of the Taliban and the complicated landscape of the post-9/11 world. The Times published a particularly glowing review of the novel:
Nadeem Aslam is a master of words and arresting images. The house has books nailed to every ceiling to save them from the Taleban (“a spike driven through the pages of history, a spike through the pages of love, a spike through the sacred”). In the garden is a disused perfume factory, and in its basement a toppled Buddha lies embedded in the wall. Alexander the Great rode here, on a unicorn, through the orchards of antiquity. This has been a place of beauty since the dawn of time. The sheer, astonishing loveliness of this novel's language fills the reader with hope that the transformative power of beauty can, somehow, still save the day.I for one, can't wait to read the novel.