Sadia Abbas is a writer, scholar and critic. The Empty Room is her first novel.
Waseem marched between Safdar and Gul Khan, their trade unionist friend, in the second row of the demonstration. Behind them, heads stretched into the distance, a dark bobbing mass, scoured here and there into a colourless shimmer by the sun. The smell of asphalt, the occasional whirl of sand, the slightly rank musk of surging bodies rose in a heavy fug above the crowd.