Maps For Lost Lovers is set in a small Pakistani community in a British town. It tells the story of two young lovers whose lives are caught up in the bigotry and tension of a community still steeped in old beliefs and traditions.
Summary Of The Book
Dasht-e-Tanhai is an unlikely name for a small British town. Yet, that is what it is called by its sizable Pakistani community. The name means the Desert of Solitude. This community of people live in a sort of cultural isolation, still clinging to their old customs and traditions. This is the setting of Maps For Lost Lovers.
The younger generation is trying to assimilate itself into the mainstream of their adopted country. But the grip of old customs are still strong, and relationships between people of different communities are not looked upon with favour.
In this scenario, young Jugnu has fallen in love with his neighbour, Chanda, and they are suspected to have been be killed for honour. The story is mainly told through the viewpoint of Jugnu’s liberal and forward thinking older brother Shamas, a poet and social worker. Contrasting with his views on life are those of his wife, Kaukab. She is steeped in traditions and because of this, she hurts others including her own children and in turn she herself is hurt, unable to come to terms with the modern world.
While the main plot centers on the two lost lovers, the story also takes the readers through a journey of the life in the small community living in an alien land. While they withdraw into their own isolated life, the bigotry of the larger community also touches them, as they are victims of racist attacks. As the search for the fate of the missing couple continues, the novel shows the impact the incident has on the other members of their respective families. It is only after several months that the horror of what happened begins to unfold.
Maps For Lost Lovers has a theme of narrow-minded prejudices and violence in the name of honor, religion and race. It is not a dark story, but it is an examination of a community that even after emigrating to strange land, wants to keep its old customs alive, to cut itself off from the world in which it has chosen to live.
About Nadeem Aslam
Nadeem Aslam is a British Pakistani writer.
Some of his other books include Season of The Rainbirds, The Wasted Vigil, and The Blind Man's Garden.
Nadeem Aslam was born in 1966 in Pakistan. His family moved to the UK when he was 14 years old. He studied biochemistry but gave up after the third year to become a writer. His first published novel was The Season of The Rainbirds in 1993. It won the Betty Trask Award and also the Author’s Club First Novel Award.
Maps for Lost Lovers
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Worth following the signs of this map