Abdullah and his sister Pari had no family besides each other. Their Mother had died from an infection after Pari's birth; their father was remote because of his work and he new wife was a stranger to these children. Although she tried to show kindness Abdullah knew her favorites were her own children, and the care of little Pari lay on Abdullah's shoulders.
But, as is the story with many Afghan farmers even today, their father did not have enough to provide for all of his children. One day he is forced to travel to Kabul with his only daughter and let her be adopted by the rich Wahdatis, where she will have wealth and education and a family, on the condition that she can never see her brother again.
Hosseini follows the story of these two siblings, and the lives of those around them, as through their lives they drift farther and farther apart. It starts with them at infancy and ends with them grey haired with grown children. He explores all sorts of lives in Afghanistan, from a poverty-stricken, starving in the cold family in Shadbagh to the rich and well traveled. We see the country change over the passage of time, as houses are destroyed and as Shadbagh is leveled to the ground. We explore the lives of Afghanis around the world, loosely or greatly affecting the lives of these siblings. Every point in the story related to the plot in the end. He clearly paints a picture of what Afghani culture is like, but he is not afraid of exposing both the painfully dark and the warmhearted love in Afghanistan.