I know. I know. But he's always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he's lost in some dream." "And?" "I wasn't like that." Baba sounded frustrated, almost angry. Rahim Khan laughed. "Children aren't colouring books. You don't get to fill them with your favourite colours.
I can't help but see the wariness, the effort, the impatience. I can't help but see two people together out of a sense of genetic duty, doomed already to bewilder and disappoint each other, each honor-bound to defy the other.
I've been told, and I think I recognize it, that there's a cinematic quality to my writing, with a sense of image and place and scene - and, some would say, my tendency to finish my books the way Hollywood finishes its films.
Thinking of him, of the anguish of his final days, and my own helplessness in the face of it, makes everything I have done, everything I wanted to do, seem as unsubstantial as the little vows you make yourself as you're going to sleep, the ones you've already forgotten by the time you wake up.
The moment is brief, barely enough for a flutter of the pulse but long enough for her illusory self to catch up with the reality of the woman gazing back from the shopwindow. It is a little devastating. This is what aging is, she thinks.
She will not plant the seed in their mind, that a parent is capable of abandoning her children, of saying to them You are not enough. For Pari, the children and Eric have always been enough. They always will be.
Mamà believed in loyalty above all, even at the cost of self-denial. She also believed it was always best to tell the truth, to tell it plainly, without fanfare, and the more disagreeable the truth, the sooner you had to tell it.
You know nothing of courage." said Baba Ayub. "For courage, there must be something at stake. I come here with nothing to lose." You have your life to lose, said the div. "You already took that from me.
In Afghanistan, you don't understand yourself solely as an individual. You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody, an uncle to somebody. You are part of something bigger than yourself.
Inside Laila too a battle was being waged : guilt on one side, partnered with shame, and, on the other, the conviction that what she and Tariq had done was not sinful; that it had been natural, good, beautiful, even inevitable, spurred by the knowledge that they might never see each other again.
I'm glad I wrote them when I did because I think if I were to write my first novel now, it would be a different book, and it may not be the book that everybody wants to read. But if I were given a red pen now, and I went back... I'd take that thing apart.