Author: Khaled Hosseini
Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and step-mother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their skulls touching, their limbs tangled.
One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.
Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history, and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.
On its own this book is just incredible! But if you compare it to Thousand Splendid Suns (review here) and the kite runner (review here) , it kind of looses its sheen. If you have not read this author before, read this one first, for maximum reading experience.
The book has excellent characterization, the narration is quite different. Although this is the story of Pari and Abdullah, there are a lot of characters who comes in to tell their point of view. Which was interesting as we know the hows and the whys of the people’s actions.
I think, in this book, the author manages to bring out the grey shaded characters in a much better way. The story starts with a father telling his kids a story of an evil monster who comes to the villages and take away one child. If the parents do not give one child, he takes all the children. And it is up to the parents to decide which child they would give up. It was an excellent start. The story in itself was quite interesting.
This book is definitely worth a read.