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HOSSEINI'S HOUDINI

HOSSEINI'S HOUDINI

“I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.” 

  

The above line was penned by Khalid Hosseini in his riveting book, And the Mountains Echoed. True, isn't it? How the fantastical fiction the child feasted subconsciously reminded the adult that there is always a "happy ending". In your narcissistic Grimm's book of life (or more aptly, the grim book of life), you are the unassuming protagonist. 

War-torn Middle Eastern settings seem to house a wealth of emotions and scenarios for writers to delve into and devour. Modern literature that centralises fiction in the Middle East, harbour a special place for me as a reader. The chasm of suffering and plots that oscillate between hopeful dreams and cataclysmic realities; fill a book with these and you've got yourself a bestseller. For The Love of A Son by Jean Sasson is another such beloved that fills the rack. But let us focus on Khalid for now. In Hosseini's books, specifically in A Thousand Splendid Suns; you notice a certain style of writing. Apart from powerful imagery and unique, Hosseini can flow through his plot seamlessly, there is no friction between segments of the story. Through various literary devices, he is able to vividly portray otherwise intangible feelings and emotions. In the following excerpt from A Thousand Splendid Suns, Rasheed forces his new young wife Mariam to chew pebbles as a punishment for undercooked rice, a guise to inwardly punish her for "her" inability to bear "him" a child. 

"Mariam chewed. Something in the back of her mouth cracked. "Good, " Rasheed said. His cheeks were quivering. "Now you know what your rice tastes like. Now you know what you've given me in this marriage. Bad food, and nothing else." Then he was gone, leaving Mariam to spit out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two broken molars." 

  

The gory images he is able to produce with a few lines is extraordinary. What is more exceptional is the underlying message he conveys through it without describing it explicitly. Their future filled with Rasheed's constant torment and Mariam's constant silent suffering is hinted at. 

But the immaculateness of his books lies in the way he describes the situation. He lays out the scenario like a cold marble floor, characters and circumstances coalesce beautifully. Then comes the chafe of curiosity tinged with wretched hope. You pass each word with rising expectations only to come face to face with the blood-curdling reality at the end of the chapter. In a single sentence. Chills. This is where he gets me every time. 

  

‘For you, a thousand times over!’ 

  

Hassan tells Amir. I pick up Sea Prayer. 

-Neha

Author: Neha says, "I’m neither a professional writer nor an emotional eccentric. Just a quarter engineer determined to follow her guts."

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