Abdullah was seven years old when his mother died giving birth to his sister, Pari. He took over the responsibility of caring for his baby sister. Abdullah bathed her, fed her, changed her diaper. He was not only Pari’s brother, he became Pari’s surrogate mother. The siblings were inseparable.
When Pari was four, their father took them to Kabul to visit their uncle, Nabi, who worked for a rich man named Suleiman Wahdati. The Wahdatis were childless and Nabi plotted so that Pari was given to the couple. The heart-breaking separation impacted not only the siblings, but also the generations to come.
Because Pari was very young, she adapted quickly to her new parents and life. She soon forgot about her life in the impoverished Afghan village, but grew up feeling an absence in her life. Shortly after her father became ill, her mother, who was half French, took Pari back to France, where Pari grew up. Pari’s mother told her that her father died shortly after they moved to France. Pari had vivid memories of her father and thought the emptiness she felt was due to his absence from her live.
Abdullah and his family became refugees in Pakistan when the Russians attacked Afghanistan and later migrated to America. Abdullah named his daughter Pari and little Pari grew up listening to Abdullah’s stories about his sister.
Almost six decades passed before the siblings were reunited, but by then, Abdullah was no longer able to recognise his long lost sister.
“And The Mountains Echoed” is a story about love, betrayal, sacrifice and loyalty that spans three generations. Khaled Hosseini is a riveting story teller and has been added to my list of favourite authors :).