One of the best books I have read in a long time. A truly gifted writer from the troubled lands of Afghanistan, Hosseini, has penned a very heartbreakOne of the best books I have read in a long time. A truly gifted writer from the troubled lands of Afghanistan, Hosseini, has penned a very heartbreaking story of two young friends and the turbulence in their relationship caused by the disrupted milieu of Kabul back in the 1970s. Aamir and Hassan, inseparable friends of childhood, born and raised together in a home devoid of women and maternal love are the lead roles in this novel. The first face Aamir remembers seeing in his life is that of the hare-lipped "Hazara" boy Hassan and the earliest memory of Hassan is that of his school-going "Agha" Aamir. They fed from the same breasts, they learned to walk and talk together, they ran kites in the, then peaceful, streets of Kabul together. This peaceful and serene set up is then marred by a horrific incident that alters the course of their lives. Following the incident, young Aamir, filled with guilt starts avoiding Hassan and finally devises a cruel plan to segregate the two families. Destiny prevails, Aamir's plan succeeds, but not because of his ingenuity but because of the humble attitude of the indebted family of Hassan. And so they separate. Then comes an era of warfare and clouds of annihilation and despair loom over Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan as the Soviets start devastating the Afghan lands. Aamir and his father, his only living relative, are forced to flee to America. Hassan moves to his native village with his father. Years pass and neither hear from each other. Aamir completes his graduation from America and finds a pretty wife. Meanwhile, Afghanistan was repeatedly trampled by the Alliances and Mujahideen following the retreat of the Red Army. Massacre, rape and kidnapping were prevalent. And finally the Taaliban take over Afghanistan. It is at this point that the old business partner and friend of Aamir's father calls Aamir to Pakistan with a request to visit him on his death bed. And it is there in Pakistan that Aamir learns of some secrets about his family. Full of redemption, he then sets out to Afghanistan to find a special boy, which he believes is his key to salvation. Countering the Taaliban at every street corner, he ultimately reaches the boy and brings him back to America. Who is this boy? Why was Aamir so eager to find him? And what happened to Hassan? I am sure your brain is bombarding with these sort of questions! But I am not about to spoil the surprise for you. So, read the book. I guarantee that you will find it really inspiring and moving. It is an excellent depiction of the Afghan culture. Its a portal to reach inside the soul of Afghanistan and understand the feelings that abide in there. Hosseini is a very honest writer and uses simple language in his writings.
Pi Patel, a young boy who got lost and was then found by none other than Pi Patel, himself. Yann Martel, has good command over language and creative wrPi Patel, a young boy who got lost and was then found by none other than Pi Patel, himself. Yann Martel, has good command over language and creative writing. In this novel, he tells a far-fetched tale of a young boy who gets lost in the sea during a sea storm and survives for 227 days in the sea trapped in a life boat with a couple of animals. Piscine Molitor Patel, or simply Pi, is the son of a zoo-owner and knows a lot about animal psychology as his childhood was surrounded by these beasts. His family decides to sell their animals and move to Canada due to political concerns in India. Moving in a Japanese freight ship with a couple of animals, the family faces a sea storm and the ship drowns killing every one except Pi and a few animals. Now, here comes the interesting part. Pi, when regains his senses realizes for the first thing that he is in a small life boat. The second thing he sees makes him utterly terrorized. He realizes that a hyena had also managed into the boat and for some mysterious reason it is not attacking Pi for the time being. Two days pass and Pi does nothing but breath and watch the hyena devour the orangutan and the injured zebra which also happened to be in the boat. What now! The hyena becomes restless. Pi gripped in suspense and despair readies himself to be the next meal of the hyena. The hyena approaches! But Pi is saved by none other than Richard Parker. Now you might wonder that I said that no one survived in the storm except Pi. Then where did this Richard Parker come from? Well that was because Richard Parker is a Bengali Tiger. A flash of orange and black stripes and razor-sharp teeth, and the hyena is being pickled with the stomach juices of Richard Parker. Now comes the story of survival of the fittest. Pi, using his ingenious methods, keeps the tiger at bay and they both survive 227 days in the sea, with a little supply of food and water. Alongside the main story, runs a parallel story of Pi and his earlier days. The most inspiring part of the book lies in this parallel story which delineates that Pi, who was born a Hindu, accepted Christianity and Islam at the age of 14 as all he wanted to do was love God. Yann Martel plunges deep into the study of religion and comparative beliefs in this book. He broaches new vistas of thoughts and ideas regarding the three greatest religions of the world. I admit that this particular part of the book was really inspiring, yet it was not that moving as to shaken the roots of my belief. In other words, the effect was not ever-lasting. However, a wide variety of people may find the ideas of Yann Martel quite appealing and able to touch the cords of their religious inner selves.