Maps for Lost Lovers

Maps for Lost Lovers

by Nadeem Aslam

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Maps for Lost Lovers 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
MelmoththeLost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel was painful to read, being a seering indictment of superstition, hypocrisy, misogyny and vicious tribal brutalities rife and accepted as normal amongst the poorest and most poorly educated Muslims living in Britain - Muslims left behind by their more educated and more prosperous co-religionists who have fled the run-down urban areas such as the one in which the story is set for pleasanter, suburban, surroundings.It was also a *beautiful* read, full of lyricism and poetry which contrast hideously with the ugly, backward culture which Aslam depicts. To be honest I'm rather surprised that Aslam hasn't found himself on the receiving end of a fatwa from some enraged cleric or other. As well as the aforementioned indictment of superstition etc, he puts words of blasphemy and apostasy into the mouth of Shamas and his younger son Ujala and writes graphically of the complicity of the mosque authorities in covering up serial sexual abuse of children by a junior cleric at the mosque. Perhaps things *have* moved on from the days when Rushdie was the subject of a fatwa for *his* writings perceived as critical of Islam.Edited to add that I was surprised by the number of typographical errors in the book. I counted getting on for 20 of them, which is very high for a relatively expensive trade paperback. Anything more than a couple is very strange these days.
kellyn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nadeem Aslam is an amazingly gifted writer; his lyrical language infuses this story with unexpected grace and beauty in spite of the disturbing conflict central to the book¿the murder of two lovers, Jugnu and Chanda. Jugnu¿s older brother, Shamas deeply ponders his life and that of the Pakistani community in which he lives. Shamas is lonely and concerned about aging and death. Shamas¿ wife, Kaukab, is caught between her longing for Pakistan and her adamant instance that she remains in England where her three children live. Kaukab exemplifies as few characters do the conflicts of the immigrant who seeks a better life for her family yet is afraid of the new culture taking her children away from her and her values. I found Kaukab¿s strict adherence to her religious principles familiar in spite of my not being a Muslim. Those, like me, raised in strict, fundamentalist (Christian) homes will recognize the struggles of the younger generation to find their own way within competing cultures. The choices made by Kaukab¿s children, her brother-in-law Jugnu and his lover Chanda represent only a few of the possible responses. Some reviewers criticize Aslam¿s work as anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistani. I found his themes universal and enlightening.
LisFlynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great writing - heavy but very good
ruinedbyreading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maps for Lost Lovers centers around the death of two murdered lovers, Chanda and Jugnu, killed for living in sin. The story mostly follows Jugnu¿s brother Shamas, and Shamas¿ wife Kaukab who is strict, religious, and the exact opposite of Shamas. It also occasionally follows the beautiful Suraya who¿s husband divorced her in a drunken fit, and a few other characters who narrate a chapter or two. Together, these characters tell the story of an immigrant community - a country within a country - full of lies, gossip, love, pain, hypocrisy and misogyny, where everyone¿s lives are connected and intertwined.I picked up Maps for Lost Lovers because of a positive book review I saw somewhere, praising the author¿s prose. I didn¿t find his prose or style of writing to be as amazing as the review had said, but I enjoyed the story. It took me awhile to get into it, but once I was interested it was hard to put down. However, I think a lot of people might not be able to get into it. Some people might find that the author really overdoes it on the similes.I think the best part of this story is the character development. Throughout the book you get to know most major characters very intimately, and there is no absolute good or evil. Even most of the horrible characters have a little bit of a human side to them. The death of Chanda and Jugnu was a gateway into all the ills of this community and all the other stories that seemed to be separate but were really all connected. I found the little side stories really intriguing, even though some were really horrific and sickening. It was an upsetting read because, even though it¿s fictional, most of the horrific crimes that happen in the book really do happen in real life.
s_mcinally on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found the first couple of chapters of this book difficult to get past but once in you are hooked. I don't really go for the flowery overladen language and the dream like quality of the writing irritates more often than it creates the atmosphere - but that is just down to preferred style. That said, the story, the strength of characters and the utter horror of what has to be endured makes this a compelling, absorbing and thought provoking book. I can't wait to pass it on.
BeeQuiet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I feel guilty for marking this book so low, so I do so with a disclaimer: I acknowledge that this is a wonderful book, but there were some things which hit my buttons and made me dislike it. I found every single character's deep level of self-pity irksome. This was something which only occurred to me towards the end, but there was something else which really did annoy me. The imagery was just ridiculous sometimes..I know what in writings by those from India, Pakistan, the sub-continent in general, there is rich imagery to be found and this is something which can show cultural ties at their best. However when describing something as looking like the freckles on a doll's fingers...I start to wonder exactly what the reasoning is for simply seeming to choose the most obscure similie possible in any particular situation. This is not to say that some metaphors were not masterful, carrying meaning linked through the book for example, but some were just ludicrous, over-the-top and tiresome.Really, it is a great book, I'm sure you'll find high praise in many other reviews which I would not disagree with, but personally I found it hard to see through a veil of irritation.
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of a first-generation immigrant Muslim couple dealing with the disappearance of a family member under suspicious circumstances. I enjoyed this book more for the beautiful use of language than for the plot which was slow and plodding. I was also disappointed that by the end of the book I had completely failed to connect with any of the characters; leaping wildly between empathy and irritation with Kaukab, and feeling nothing at all for anyone else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put the book down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was amazing. as i was getting closer to the end i was hoping that some how jugnu and chanda would suddenly appear, and the relationship between kaukab and ujala would mend but... all was best left as it was it made the book great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 émigré 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 resolu
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book, but frankly I finally put it down unfinished. The author seems to think that the more overblown metaphors in a story the better. Unfortunately, it is hard to get past many of the clunkers because hardly a sentence goes by without one. Rather than adding to the poetry of the story, these metaphors act as obstacles to its flow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aslam begins at the point where most novels climax: the murders of his brother and her lover have already occurred and Chanda's brothers arrested, although no bodies have yet been found. The real focus of this lovely story is not the murder, but the effects it has on the victims' families and community. The situation brings to a peak the distances created between men and women, parents and children by the struggle to reconcile two cultures. (Kirkus Reviews made many mistakes in the character connections. Chanda is not Shamas' sister, she is his younger brother's lover Suraya is not the daughter of Shamas and Kaukab, she is a woman with whom he has an affair.)