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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
The circumstances surrounding a single family shed light on a country in turmoil in Hosseini's moving English fiction debut. After being saved from his suicide attempt by a kind sheepherder, Behruz, the elder brother of a set of twins, narrates the tragic series of events that led him to ingest a bottle of pesticide in his family's lemon grove in Iran. Years ago, Behruz and his twin, Ruzbeh, enjoyed an idyllic childhood whiling away summer nights under the stars. But when the black-haired and green-eyed Shireen earns both boys' affections, Behruz decides to leave their home in order to give his brother and his beloved a chance to build a life together. While Behruz attends school in America, Ruzbeh and Shireen marry, but the revolution and Iraqi invasion throws their lives into turmoil. Behruz returns to Iran to find the lemon grove abandoned, his brother a shell-shocked nomad wandering the desert, and Shireen missing and possibly dead. Distraught by his ruined home and family, Behruz attempts to end it all-now, with a new lease on life, Behruz summons the courage to reconnect with Ruzbeh and find Shireen. Hosseini's deceptively simple narrative pulses with vibrancy and genuine emotion, and his deft deployment of details imbues this short novel with an enthralling sense of character, time, and place.
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