Dasht-e-Tanhaii, United Kingdom

Kamila Shamsie explains the setting of Nadeem Aslam’s Maps For Lost Lovers:

“The English town of Dasht-e-Tanhaii? It sounds more like something out of a fairytale than a place off the M4. But no, it is a town with a large community of Pakistani migrants who have renamed their new home Dasht-e-Tanhaii: The Wilderness of Loneliness or The Desert of Solitude. Aslam has populated this place with a remarkable cast: Jugnu’s brother, Shamas, a gentle, liberal man with no time for the orthodox form of Islam to which so many in his community cling; Shamas’s sons and daughter, part of the generation that must attempt to forge a link between the Pakistani and British parts of their lives without being consumed by anger or pulled apart by conflicting demands; Suraya, who was “mistakenly” divorced by her husband in Pakistan while he was in a drunken rage, and now (by the precepts of the Islamic sect she follows) must find someone else to marry and divorce her before she can return to her former husband and their son.”

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