Nadeem Aslam is the author of the award-winning Season of the Rainbirds (1993) and The Wasted Vigil (2008). Born in Pakistan, he now lives in England.
Set during a monsoon season in the 1980s in a small town in Pakistan, Season of the Rainbirds is centred on the mysterious reappearance of a sack of letters lost in a train crash nineteen years previously. Could the letters have any bearing on Judge Anwar‰۪s murder? The letters and the judge‰۪s death trigger a series of tragic events and as the murder investigation progresses, dark tales of passion and betrayal unfold and long-buried secrets come to light.
The narrative segues between several characters‰ÛÓthe judge‰۪s family, a cleric troubled by local inhabitants‰۪ lapses, a Muslim deputy commissioner defiantly involved with a Christian woman, a feudal landlord and a crusading journalist reporting on the delivery of the mail packet‰ÛÓand comes to a head when the journalist disappears and the country lurches between fear and uncertainty following an assassination attempt on the president.
One of the most exquisite fictional debuts, Season of the Rainbirds is a compelling portrayal of a society in strife, of a timeless world where daily rituals are played out against an ominous landscape of oppression, decadence, bigotry and power.