“So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one. But just the one. Don’t either of you ask me for more.”
Except, the book isn’t one story, but nine. Nine chapters, nine interconnected stories, tailored in typical Hosseini fashion – family, love, grief and emotions.
It begins with a fable. And then the tales follow: the separation of 10-year-old Abdullah and his three-year-old baby sister Pari; half-French Nila Wahadati – the most fascinating character of the book, the daughter of a Pashtun aristocrat, who grows from a sensuous, rebellious young woman into an emotionally-damaged alcoholic; the disquieting relationship between two sisters in Shadbagh; a Greek aid worker in Afghanistan and his life back home; the relationship between a disabled Afghan and his manservant in war-ravaged Kabul; a young boy grappling with the realisation that his father is a druglord; two Afghans in exile struggling with mixed emotions when they visit Afghanistan after many years… story after story, stories within stories. You move back and forth in time and space with every chapter. You’re in Paris, Greece, California... and you keep coming back to old, familiar Afghan territory.
This book is unlike either of Hosseini’s previous novels. The setting is still Afghanistan, but the book isn’t about the war or the Taliban. It’s about interesting characters and their heartfelt lives.
You’ll need that box of tissues.
Saudamini Jain read the book a month before it released. She also interviewed Khaled Hosseini (turn to page 8). He was absolutely charming. Two things struck off her bucket list
From HT Brunch, May 26
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