Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I've noticed that other reviewers cut this author a lot of slack for contrived and emotionally manipulative plots, but I'm not that generous.  This book meanders hither and thither, all over the world, back and forth in time, and among characters that are sometimes loosely connected, at best.  There's too much going on here for me.  It's almost as though he didn't have enough material for the primary plot, and so he whisked in a few others.  The main story is that of the separation of two young siblings, which I think is a more heartbreaking storyline than the loss of a child.  Abdullah adores his young sister Pari, but their father allows a wealthy couple in Kabul to adopt Pari so that he can perhaps somehow manage to provide for the rest of his family in a small Afghan village.  The central question then is whether or not brother and sister will ever reunite.  Two of the other story lines involve young girls with medical issues.  Roshi has a cracked skull and gains the sympathy of two cousins, Timur and Idris, both of whom have the means to get her the neurosurgery that she needs.  Idris resents Timur and the flamboyant manner in which he makes known his many good works.  Timur's lack of humility, however, is of no consequence to those he helps; their gratitude is boundless.  I get it:  it's better to perform acts of kindness and brag about it than to do nothing at all.  The other girl is Thalia.  Her plight inspires Markos to abandon photography and pursue a career in plastic surgery, the spoils of which allow him to correct cleft palates in poverty-stricken areas.  The strongest image that I will take away from this book is that of a child horribly disfigured by a dog and whose mother can barely bring herself to look at her.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh dear...I had no idea what this book was about.

THANK YOU for your honest review. I appreciate it.

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