Maps for Lost Lovers, which took Nadeem Aslam 11 years to write, was declared in San Francisco as joint winner of the annual Kiriyama award, which aims to raise understanding of the peoples of the Pacific rim and south Asian diaspora.
The novel is a combined love story and murder mystery set in a poor south Asian enclave where a local curse is “May your son marry a white woman”. It centres on Kaukab, a pious Muslim woman who relies on her faith to ease her feelings of estrangement from her homeland of Pakistan and from her husband and westernised children.
It dramatises both white and Asian racism and deals with arranged marriages and Muslim divorce. Aslam, 39, who won literary awards for his first novel Season of the Rainbirds, is the son of Pakistani parents who settled in Huddersfield in the 1980s.
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