Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Alternating between 2011 and 1940, a dying mother, visited by her children, hints at a past regret to her daughter, Laurel. Present day Laurel visits libraries, families and spends her day digging into the past to determine what changed her mother all those years ago. Dorothy's past unfolds with love interest, Jimmy and you walk beside her experiencing the decisions she made for better or worse.
At first, I thought this book would be predictible. I adored, "The Secret Garden," liked "Distant Hours," but didn't care for "House at Riverton." Hesitant to pick up this fourth offering from Morten and happy I did. She introduces complex characters whose desires make them human; neither perfect nor wrong. There are many corners you turn in the story and just when I thought I'd figured out the ending, I was led down a divergent path. Enjoyed the journey and hope you will, too. Excellent choice for women who like a good character driven mystery.
This is a lovely tale of an ordinary man setting off on a pilgrimage to visit an old friend who is dying. Harold believes as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live. Without proper shoes, a map, or any plausible plan, he embarks on this journey. In a rut for the past 20 years, Harold is like a hamster jumping off the wheel, taking a new direction. He searches the recesses of his mind exploring his passionless marriage; history with his son; and his relationship with Queenie. Along the way, he encounters numerous people who both help and exploit his trek. Nothing is obvious or predictable.
You'll want to take your time with this one to appreciate the language and turn of phrase. One of my many favorite parts was the line, "Harold stopped measuring his journey in miles, but in remembering." The entire book was simply lovely and causes a bit of soul searching for the reader. Didn't rush through this one, savored all the text, and am a little wiser from the listening.
Hosseini writes and narrates an amazing and morally complex novel, hooking you from the start. A dark fairytale sets the scene for the many stories to come. The reader is once again in Afghanistan, but the trip feels completely different from "The Kite Runner" which was a unlike "A Thousand Splendid Suns". You also travel to other destinations and times as the seemingly disparate stories tie together.
What astounds me about this novel is how complex, thoughtful, and new are the scenarios and characters. While many authors churn out the same books year after year because the market supports this (i.e. Sparks or Piccoult), Hosseini took his time to create thought-provoking characters grappling with insurmountable odds.
In the beginning, a father faces a devastating loss and must choose the right path for his children. A choice he'll remember and possibly regret for the rest of his days. The overall theme is of making difficult decisions and living with the consequences. It begs the question, "does the end justify the means"? I won't give more details as not to spoil the experience. I found this novel rich, thought-provoking, haunting, and powerful.