NO SPACE FOR
Feryal Ali Gauhar
Rs 250 Pb 2007
(Pakistani and French rights sold. All others available.)
It’s September, 2002, one year after 9/11 and the US
invasion of Afghanistan. A U.S. army medical technician
is taken captive by Afghan rebels while on a recce mission,
and thrown into an asylum with a dozen or so other inmates.
Are they refugees from the war? Derelicts? Fugitives on the run?
Men and women mad with grief and loss, or just exhausted by the
repeated violation of their country? This astonishingly
powerful novel unfolds the tragedy of Afghanistan, as told by
the captive narrator, in hauntingly beautiful prose. As the
characters try to cope with their individual destinies in the
asylum's compound the terrible madness of war is counterpointed
with the poignancy of their lives and the narrator’s own peculiar
predicament—the “victor” now a victim, his ambivalence a
metaphor for everything Afghanistan symbolizes. In a stunning
denouement the author makes clear that there is no winning
this war, there is only a ravaged country and those
who manage to survive its insanity.
|FERYAL ALI GAUHAR
read Political Economy at McGill University.
She trained in documentary film production in Europe and at the University of Southern California.
Her first novel,
The Scent of Wet Earth in August
(2002) was based on her film, Tibbi Galli. She teaches film at the National College of Art, Lahore, works as a development communications specialist, and writes for
Dawn. She has also been a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.