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Fiction Literary

Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday

by (author) Jamaluddin Aram

Simon & Schuster
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Literary, Political, Urban Life
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
    $15.05 USD

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In this novel about peace in a time of war, debut author Jamaluddin Aram masterfully breathes life into the colourful characters of the town of Wazirabad, in early 1990s Kabul, Afghanistan.

It is the early 1990s, in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Russian occupation has ended, and civil war has broken out, but life roars on in full force in the working-class town of Wazirabad.

A rash of burglaries has stolen people’s sleep. Fifteen-year-old Aziz awakens from a dark dream that prompts him to plant shards of glass along the wall surrounding his house to protect his family against theft. Aziz’s sister, Seema, decorates kites with her calligraphy and sells fresh scorpions to spare her mother from servicing the local soldiers. Along the main street, three militiamen wait for the fighting to resume, while the Baker, the Watchmaker, the Tailor, and the Vegetable Seller make their modest living and the Bonesetter reads poetry to his cat. And every day at noon, a flaming red rooster walks three blocks to visit his favourite hens.

But tensions rise among the town’s people. The burglaries have put everyone on edge. The militiamen are on the hunt for the thief who stole their dog—and their ammunition. And a widow, who is the target of men’s lust and women’s scorn, soon finds herself on the periphery of a terrible violence. While the armed conflict rages on in the background, rumours swirl with a feverish frenzy, culminating in the collective chorus of the town’s living, breathing dreams.

In this brilliantly kaleidoscopic, darkly funny, and wholly captivating novel about peace in a time of war, Jamaluddin Aram breathes life into the families and friends, lovers and loners, neighbours and sworn enemies who wander the winding alleys of Wazirabad.

About the author

Jamaluddin Aram is a documentary filmmaker, producer, and writer from Kabul, Afghanistan. His works have appeared in Numero Cinq, The Write Launch, and Cagibi literary magazine among others. Jamaluddin’s short story “This Hard Easy Life” was a finalist for RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in 2020. He was selected as a mentee by Michael Christie for the Writers’ Trust of Canada Mentorship program for his book Marchoba, now titled Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday, his debut novel. He is the associate producer of the Academy Award–nominated film Buzkashi Boys. Jamaluddin has a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Union College in Schenectady, New York. He lives in Toronto. Connect with him on Facebook @Jamaluddin.Aram or on Instagram and Twitter @JamaluddinAram.

Jamaluddin Aram's profile page

Excerpt: Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday (by (author) Jamaluddin Aram)

Editorial Reviews

“With this sublimely engrossing novel, Jamaluddin Aram has evoked the spirit of a small Afghani community by cataloguing its dreams, crimes, visions, jokes, characters, and myths. All with an aching tenderness that warms every single page. This is the work of a fully formed literary talent, a writer you should not only watch, but listen to, as closely as you possibly can.”
MICHAEL CHRISTIE, bestselling author of Greenwood

“In this evocative, confident debut Jamaluddin Aram paints a vivid portrait of a neighbourhood and its denizens, obstinately going about their daily lives despite deprivation and violence. Anyone who has been ensconced in a close-knit community will recognize these complicated characters whose humanity Aram reveals with unerring and unsentimental precision. . . . A vivacious debut from an author to watch.”
SHARON BALA, bestselling author of The Boat People

“This is a moving and original debut novel from a very talented writer. I loved its inventive structure, which guides the reader through the linked lives of the people of Wazirabad. Chapter by chapter we’re invited into their dreams, to experience the tenderness and troubles of their lives. The result is resonant and communal storytelling about people and a place that will stick with you for a long time.”
ALIX OHLIN, award-winning author of We Want What We Want and Dual Citizens

“This book is a masterpiece, and I do not say those words lightly. Opening Aram’s novel is like waking into a lucid dream. Here, fable and nightmare fuse into a single flavor. Everything feels strange and yet so preternaturally real, and the strangest thing of all is how normal it all comes to feel . . . Some books demand admiration for the intensity of the writer’s imagination, some for the depth of detail, some for the poetry of the language, some for the authority of the writer’s voice—rarely do we see all these powers operating in consort as we do here.”
TAMIM ANSARY, author of The Invention of Yesterday

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