The Landscape of Vertical Wilderness

Environmentalism and a Sense of Place in Uzma Aslam Khan’s Novel Thinner than Skin


  • Monazza Makhdoom NUML, Islamabad
  • Munazza Yaqoob Associate Professor & Chair Department of English, IIU, Islamabad


This paper examines the novel Thinner than Skin by Anglophone Pakistani writer Uzma Aslam Khan, and especially her deployment of an alternate vision of Pakistan's Northern area and its complex geography, history and environmentalism. Set in Pakistan's vibrant, culturally diverse and magnificent landscapes described as “vertical wilderness" in the Himalayan and Karakorum regions, the author explores the relationship between culture, and the non-human nature, and explores a sense of place that is replete with regional, local and external threats that constantly thwart the local landscape and its ecosystem. In the novel, Khan raises important questions regarding the rapid degradation of the forest environment, the fate of indigenous nomadic people and issues related to the conservation of wildlife in the background of neoliberalism and development. The analsyis shows that the environment and the local cultures in Paksitans Northern areas are under threat with potentially undesraible impact and will continue further if left unaddressed.