And the Mountains Echoed | Study Guide

Khaled Hosseini

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And the Mountains Echoed | Character Analysis



After the death of his mother, Abdullah becomes fiercely devoted to his baby sister, Pari, but loses track of her when she is adopted. Although he immigrates to California, where he becomes a devoted father and runs a successful family restaurant, his greatest desire is to reunite with Pari. When he is diagnosed with dementia, he takes the box of feathers he has kept for Pari since her childhood and indicates in writing that it is for her. When he is finally reunited with Pari, his dementia has progressed too far for him to recognize who she is.

Pari Wahdati

After her adoption, Pari Wahdati's memories of her former life and birth family are erased, leaving only a vague yet persistent sense of absence. In her youth Pari takes care of her alcoholic adoptive mother, Nila. Following Nila's death, Pari finds happiness in marriage, motherhood, and a career in mathematics. A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis forces her to retire in middle age. When she is finally reunited with Abdullah, the brother she does not remember, the box of feathers he leaves for her signals to her how important she was to him.


Nabi leaves Shadbagh and finds work in Kabul. He arranges for Pari's adoption out of his unrequited love for Nila Wahdati. After Nila's departure, Nabi remains Suleiman's attendant and caretaker and learns that Suleiman is in love with him. However, he doesn't quit the job even when Suleiman suggests he go and get married because Nabi realizes that his life with Suleiman satisfies his basic needs. After Suleiman's death, Nabi inherits the house, which he makes available to Markos Varvaris. His letter to Markos is how Pari Wahdati learns the truth about her childhood.


Fascinated by her father's story of his little sister, after whom she is named, Pari imagines that her aunt, Pari Wahdati, is her twin and friend. She adores her father and wishes more than anything to take away his sadness by reuniting him with his sister. Growing up in California, Pari feels alienated by her Muslim heritage. She works at her parents' restaurant before becoming her father's caretaker. Pari facilitates the reunion of her father and his sister. Later she places her father in a care facility and travels to Europe to finally meet the family she has always longed for.


Parwana's jealousy over her beautiful twin, Masooma, comes to a head when she causes Masooma to become paralyzed by falling from a tree. Parwana then dedicates herself to being her sister's caretaker. Later, at Masooma's urging, Parwana abandons her in the desert en route to Kabul. Afterward, Parwana marries Saboor, whom she has loved since childhood. They have two children, Omar and Iqbal.

Markos Varvaris

Markos Varvaris's childhood longing is to travel the world as a photographer. After wandering the world as a young man, Markos becomes a plastic surgeon. In 2002 he moves into the former Wahdati home in Kabul, where he offers his surgical skills. After Nabi's death Markos fulfills Nabi's request to get his letter to Pari Wahdati.

Nila Wahdati

Nila Wahdati is half Afghan and half French. She undergoes an arranged marriage to Suleiman at age 20. She is sexually experienced, drinks, listens to jazz, and writes explicit poems about her romances. She is unable to have children and so adopts Pari, a plan Nabi devises out of his love for Nila. Nila scandalizes Kabul when she leaves her husband following his stroke. She takes Pari to Paris, where she leads an irresponsible lifestyle. Before committing suicide at age 44, she gives an interview in which she offers a perspective on her life and Afghan culture.

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