The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam

You will be captured from the very first line... Her mind is a haunted house…the mirror is large – if it was water she could dive and disappear into it without touching the sides.

In the opening chapter of The Wasted Vigil we meet Marcus, an Englishman gone native in Afghanistan...his left hand is missing. In an abandoned perfume factory, a Russian woman, Lara, arrives to look for her brother. Marcus, the sage-like former perfume maker and lover of all things fine, mourns his Afghan wife, a victim of the Taliban's war on women. He also searches for a grandson who may or may not be alive and in walks Casa – a young Talib seeking refuge from his warlord after a botched mission.

For lovers of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, in our opinion this is much more splendidly written, and far more devastating.