Jugnu and his lover, Chanda, have disappeared.
Though unmarried, they had been living together, embracing the contemporary mores of the English town where they lived but disgracing themselves in the eyes of their close-knit Pakistani community. Rumors about their disappearance abound, but five months go by 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.
Shock and disbelief spread through the community, and for Jugnu’s brother, Shamas, and his wife, Kaukab, it is a moment that marks the beginning of the unraveling of all that is sacred to them. As the novel unfolds over the next twelve months, we watch Kaukab struggle to maintain her Islamic piety as the effects of the double murder prove increasingly corrosive to the life of her family.
Upon its publication last year in England, Alan Hollinghurst praised Maps for Lost Lovers as “haunting, vivid, and tender,” and Colm Tóibín hailed it as “a superb achievement, a book in which every detail is nuanced, every piece of drama carefully choreographed, even minor characters carefully drawn.” Beautifully written, emotionally and sensually arresting—“a Persian love poem for the twenty-first century” (Books Quarterly)—this deeply felt and moving novel explores the heart of a family at the crossroads of culture, nationality, religion, and the most personal crises of faith. Maps for Lost Lovers introduces American readers to a magnificent voice in fiction.
This book contains some striking and exquisite language. The storyline is good, although I found the author's attack on religious (Islamic) conservatism slightly overdone.