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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, unexpectedly expressive prose, Aslam reveals the intertwining paths that these characters have traveled, 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, broadly drawn 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Paul on 03-19-18
Despicable, The Audible Equivalent of a Snuff Film
What would have made The Wasted Vigil better?
An editor who would have checked Aslam's perverted love of the violent. Aslam can write a beautiful sentence but he did so in service to a book that is nothing more than torture pornography.
What was most disappointing about Nadeem Aslam’s story?
The slim story--and it was slim--is buried under an avalanche of disgusting violence and repetitive religious zealotry that didn't advance the story at all. The love story aspect of the book was utterly uncompelling. Also, the transitions between locations and time periods were clumsy.
What aspect of Basil Sands’s performance would you have changed?
He's a good performer with the glaring exception of his interpretation of a Russian woman. Lara sounded like a Natasha reject from Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. His accent really took me out of the story, though, given how much I loathed this book, maybe that was a good thing.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Wasted Vigil?
There were so many, many egregiously violent scenes that added nothing to the story. What was a tale of slaughter from the US Revolutionary War doing there? It's as if the author had a check-list of every wartime atrocity ever committed and was determined to shoe-horn them in even if, as they usually did, added nothing to the story.
Any additional comments?
I listened to this book for my book club, which I very much enjoy. If I were reading this on my own, I would have stopped very early on. I cannot remember ever reading a more loathsome book.
By Audrey on 05-02-14
Poor reader marred the story.
What disappointed you about The Wasted Vigil?
I found the story very over-drawn and anti-Moslem. Predictable and overly-violent.
If you’ve listened to books by Nadeem Aslam before, how does this one compare?
I thought the reader was poor. The voices he employed when the characters spoke were inconsistent and caricatures. Nearly offensive.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
There was some lovely writing along the way and many interesting details about Afghan life. I took them as true though I don't know if they are.
Any additional comments?
I will never buy an audiobook read by Basil Sands.