No Space for Further Burials

Feryal Ali Gauhar, Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 9781936070602
This nearly unreadable debut novel tells of the captivity and descent into madness of an American medical technician captured by rebel soldiers and held prisoner for several months in a defunct mental asylum in Afghanistan. Housed in a sealed-off compound in the desert, the unnamed narrator describes his own hardships and his strange fellow residents through a series of diary entries. There is Bulbul, a former kebab vendor who dreams of going to America and owning the objects he sees in an old Sears catalog, and Hayat, an ancient medicine woman covered in tattoos and hair. Waris and his wife, Noor Jeha, are caretakers who have been in charge of the asylum since the death of its Canadian director. These characters, and others, eventually speak in their own voices, revealing pasts that have been uniformly marred by war and violence. The intervening pages are filled with the narrator's blandly gruesome descriptions of visits from rebel soldiers, looters, bombings, hunger, and his own frustration at the unlikelihood of escape. But the novel lacks a compelling plot and moves from one horror to the next with a numbing lack of logic and a repetitiousness that will set readers' teeth on edge. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-81-88965-31-1
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-936070-88-6
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