Regression is Zaman's newest work, a speculative fiction novel about reincarnation spanning three lives set in Bhutan, Singapore, and Xinjiang.
The story centers around the legend of Guru Rinpoche, the Second Buddha who brought Buddhism to Bhutan establishing Taktsang or the famous Tiger's Nest monastery in Paro. Many generations later, a boy Bodhi is identified as his reincarnation and is schooled in life and the dharma in the monasteries and town squares of the High Himalaya. After his sudden disappearance, the story switches back to a risk-averse hero in colonial Singapore. Finally, the third act is set in the near future featuring a young woman filmmaker of mixed heritage, part-Uyghur, part-Han Chinese.
Touching on themes of identity, agency, and Buddhism, the three characters, Bodhi from Bhutan, Wei Wei from Singapore, and Peiyi from Xinjiang are unique and historically relevant in their own times. Selfless and yet driven to make an impact, the characters are aided along the way by key confidantes and are sometimes swept up by the history of their respective time.
Exotic voyages, mysterious deeds, and an Argo ending at the brink of war make Regression unforgettable.
Contemporary fiction for the cerebral reader who appreciates a blend of biopic, travel narrative, and speculative fiction.