The reader is first introduced to Pari, a very young girl who has a love for bird feathers and her brother, Abdullah, who feels very protective of his sister since their mother died. The young siblings from Afghanistan are soon going to be separated due to circumstances beyond their control. Their father, Saboor, has tried to help Abdullah understand why this must be by telling him a folktale on the eve of the sibling's separation that somewhat mirrors what is about to transpire the following morning. The love these siblings have for each other makes the reader want to know what happens once they are separated; however, what Hosseini does is take us down another path, an offshoot of sorts, from what Saboor's decision does for generations to come, and we go on to meet a fascinating cast of characters, including Parwana, Nabi, Suleimon Wahdati, Idris, Roshi, and so many others with page-turning tales.
There are hints of more unrest about to occur in this volatile country and how the wars it must wage effects people who simply want to love, live and find some sense of peace in their lives. The author, who is originally from Kabul, has a magical way with words, as he proved with his first two bestselling novels. The story begins in the year 1952 and concludes by the time Abdullah and Pari have reached old age. Hosseini does not give in to fluff or feel a need to neatly tie all the loose ends in the well-developed lives of his characters, so some readers may be somewhat disappointed when they reach the last page; however, that device reflects life and will give book groups something to discuss for years to come.
Best part of story, including ending:
The way the author developed the characters and his narration. He provides a hint to readers when he writes the following: "I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us." I just loved that statement, which reflects many of the characters' desires in this novel.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene would be a spoiler since it is toward the end, but my next favorite scene is the opening of the book when the father is telling his son a folktale as a means to prepare him (and the reader) for what is about to transpire the following day.
Opinion about the main character:
In reality, there is no main character since this novel goes through a number of generations, but I did love Abdullah since he was so protective of his sister and was willing to disobey his father to see where she was being taken.