I’ve been having such a hard time focusing on basically everything that I love to do and thus have been distracted from finally finishing this book that I have carried around with me for months now. Hopefully now that I have finally overcome this barrier and lack of focus, I’ll be able to get through some imaginary booklist much more smoothly.
As someone who has read The Kite Runner, my mom was more than excited to pick up this gem and read through it way faster than I did. Upon completion, she adamantly suggested that I, too, read it. I was hesitant, mostly because it was my mom and I wasn’t sure if we’re always on the same page (haha) when it comes to the subject matter we like to read about. It was in this hesitation that she started to appeal to the writer in me, telling me how well it was written and the descriptive style he utilized. So, putting my initial hesitation aside, I took up the book and, okay, I was glad I did.
This is the first of Hosseini’s works that I’ve actually read and now I think I may need to read more because (holy cow) this was unlike anything I’ve read in a really long time. While there is only one major storyline throughout the novel, it branches off into several smaller plot lines/backstories. And while this usually becomes confusing or tiresome, this novel becomes neither. Hosseini is a master in flowing into and out of each storyline and each new narrative and character. The structure was weird at first, but by the middle of the actual novel, it all made sense. There is no other way he could’ve written this novel. And if he had, it wouldn’t have intrigued me as much as it did. My mom was right. It was interesting and well written and his descriptions were on point. (I say it like this because I am not a very descriptive writer myself and am really not a huge fan of overly descriptive writers, but this was great. GREAT, KHALED HOSSEINI.)
The story follows a brother and sister, Abdullah and Pari, as they begin their lives, become separated through a terrible family situation, and are ultimately brought back together at the end. (Was that a spoiler alert because sorry.) However, throughout their story, we are introduced to about five other characters who receive their own storyline and while this seems like it could get real messy real fast, it does just the opposite. Not all the characters and backstories were necessary to describing the bond between the siblings, but it was necessary to the book and to each character’s role in bringing the two back together. The connections that Hosseini made between each character and story and occurrence was absurdly awesome (is this a real term I can use in book reviews? I’m not good at this, remember?). You’re flipping page after page and reading different stories and then a connection is made and your mind is blown.
And okay, maybe I got teary eyed once in a while.
Hosseini is known for writing novels based on areas and people in the Middle East. He touches on their culture and their lifestyle and it’s the coolest thing. I was never one for history, really, but when reading literature that discusses a different culture in such detail in ways that I could never imagine, it touches you. It changes you. It joins us together in a human way and being a person and using words to do that reminds me of everything that I want to do with words. To show everyone the power of words. The ability to change mindsets and introduce cultures with words. It’s a crazy thing.
Okay, and because I’m 100% not qualified enough to be giving out book reviews of this nature, I’ll just leave it with my most favorite quote from the entire book because I think not only does it show the writing style of Hosseini, but also the importance of understanding one’s culture:
“He said that if culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or legitimate identity.”