Yesterday I posted over at the Litblog Co-op about the book I nominated for the LBC Fall 2005 Read This! selection. It’s a remarkable novel by Nadeem Aslam, Maps for Lost Lovers. I think I kind of hogged the blog–the post goes on and on and on–and I didn’t even scratch the surface of what impressed me about the book. Check it out, and by all means seek out this book if you’re in the mood for an enveloping family drama told in prose to get drunk on. (In a good way!)
P.S. Terry wrote and asked why I didn’t post an excerpt here. I replied that this was a very good question. Here’s a slice:
Aslam is great at unearthing rich psychologies like Kaukab’s in an emotionally potent way; he’s great at interiors. But that’s a bit misleading, since another distinction of his novel is the way it reflexively looks outward to see in: a great deal of what we know about the characters is divined through detailed representations of the world as they see it. The thickly descriptive style through which Aslam achieves this will, I imagine, prove overly rich for some readers. Seven metaphors and similes on the first page alone sounds alarming, doesn’t it? But–apart from the fact that many of them are stunning–metaphoric language is more than a vehicle here, and certainly more than just ornament. It’s close to being a provisional philosophy.
The metaphors and similies that carpet Aslam’s prose have individual beauty and collective significance, evoking a world in which hardly anything isn’t strikingly like something else–a world of underlying connectedness. Juxtaposed with the divisions and strife that characterize the social world the novel depicts, this connectedness comes to seem a necessity, and those who attend to it–Shamas and Kaukab included, the murderers not–are small heroes doing everyday justice to both the variety of the world and its unity.
That gives you the flavor. To get the context, go read the whole thing. As they say.