The characters are picturesque. Everyone has been sketched more by their expressions than by their clothing. The notable ones are the humbleness of Ahmed’s Baba and the artistic galore in him, the indifference of Ahmed’s Mama, the description of Abbas, the man changes into with time and situation. The poverty, pain and hunger that bring into challenges in the day to day life of the protagonist is written well. The description of Nora, the kind of person she is to look beyond how Ahmed dresses and settle into the intelligent mind of his. Even the Justice and Menachem had been portrayed as the perfect guide and friends. The character of Yasmine has been portrayed as just the kind of expectation a reader can have about a village girl set in the American Dreams. On the whole, the strength of the plot are the characters that are built here.
This book is one of a kind, more real than what we see on television from different part of the world. The reality lies in the differences that thrive in a family, among every individual member which finally leads each one to follow different paths of life and face the consequences. What is chosen by an individual and what fate has for one show the path of life one is finally entitled to. How political exploitation and lack of enough communication leads to agony, hatred and misery and how in turn it hurts the life of common man is also well portrayed.
The flaw in the book is just one. There is no drastic description of any situation that the protagonist in the book. All the natural calamities and political disturbances that are described are faced by only the author or his family; there is no notable devastation that affects anyone other than them directly. More so, they are dealt with and overcome finally with no add-on reference or exhibition of emotions. When Nora dies, everyone forgets her after the funeral, when Abbas leaves, no one tries to stop him or contact him till the end, other than protagonist, when Baba comes back from prison, there is no description of how his life changes after the 18 years of confinement. A little bit more on these would have added more life to the story.
On the whole, this is an amazing read and author has done justice as a first write. What Khaled Hosseini did about Afghanistan in “The Kite Runner” is what Michelle Cohen Corasanti did for Palestine in her “The Almond Tree”. A must read book for sure.