From the author of Maps for Lost Lovers, a new novel, at once beautiful and blistering, about war today told through the lives of five people who come together by chance–and tragically revealed circumstance– in post—9/11 Afghanistan. Five disparate lives intersect through decades of invasion, occupation, and violence. There’s Marcus, an English expat who was married to an outspoken Afghani doctor–she was murdered by the Taliban–who opens his home to the others, the house itself a strange and beautiful monument to the inconceivable losses his family suffered . . . David, an American, formerly a spy, who has seen the Afghanis through the invasion of the Russians, the domination of the Taliban, and, now, the incursion of the Americans, and who has seen his own ideas of purpose and reason turned inside out . . . Lara, from St. Petersburg, looking for evidence of her brother, a Russian soldier who disappeared years before . . . Casa, a young Afghani whose hatred of the Americans has plunged him into the blinding depths of zealotry . . . and James, an American soldier in the Special Forces in whom David sees a dangerous revival of the unquestioning notions of right and wrong that he himself once held. In mesmerizing, expressive prose, Aslam reveals the intertwining paths that these characters have travelled, and the complex ties–of love and desperation, pain and salvation, madness and clarity–that bind them. Through their stories emerges a portrait both timely and timeless, panoramic and achingly intimate, of the “continuation of wars” that has shaped, and continues to shape, our world. In its combination of radiant language, hypnotic imagery, and unflinching drama, The Wasted Vigil is a luminous work of fiction.