Set in a nameless British town that its Pakistani-born immigrants have renamed Dasht-e-Tanhaii, the Desert of Solitude, Maps for Lost Lovers is an exploration of cultural tension and religious bigotry played out in the personal breakdown of a single family. As the book begins, Jugnu and Chanda, whose love is both passionate and illicit, have disappeared from their home. Rumours about their disappearance abound, but five months pass 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.
Maps for Lost Lovers traces the year following Jugnu and Chanda’s disappearance. Seen principally through the eyes of Jugnu’s brother Shamas, the cultured, poetic director of the local Community Relations Council and Commission for Racial Equality and his wife Kaukab, mother of three increasingly estranged children and devout daughter of a Muslim cleric, the event marks the beginning of the unravelling of all that is sacred to them. It fills Shamas’s own house and life with grief and, in exploring the lovers’ disappearance and its aftermath, Nadeem Aslam discloses a legacy of miscomprehension and regret not only for Shamas and Kaukab but for their children and neighbours as well.
An intimate portrait of a community searingly damaged by traditions, this is a densely imagined, beautiful and deeply troubling book written in heightened prose saturated with imagery. It casts a deep gaze on themes as timeless as love, nationalism and religion, while meditating on how these forces drive us apart.
Book one of the Maha Vishnu Trilogy, The Code of Manavas, is set some two million years past ad 2050, when earth as we know it ceased to exist and so did mankind. A new race, the Manavas, now exists on Bhoomi, the erstwhile Earth, which is divided into two cities—Madhavpur and Ayudhpur. In the quiet and peaceful city of Madhavpur, a reclusive Krishna is busy with an immense task. He has to prepare a new abode for the Manavas before an impending apocalypse destroys them. He knows something that nobody else does—the Manavas are running out of time faster than they can imagine and there are no inhabitable planets to escape to. To make matters worse, there is someone in Madhavpur who wants to destroy Krishna and subjugate each Manava.
The Manavas, it seems, are doomed. Yet Krishna knows there is a slim chance of survival for the Manavas, although there is a huge price to be paid for it. Will the various factions of the Manavas unite for the greater good? Will Krishna, who saved them during the turn of the last Yuga, be able to save them now? What will be the price to pay? Enter the mythical world of Maha Vishnu and get swept up in a fast-paced suspenseful narrative.