This is a very nearly perfect story in its encapsulation of a country's history through the lives of two very believable women. The clear writing and hard-to-put-down story makes it a very worthy successor to Kite Runner. The end of this tale is better though, and somehow more honest and complete. I only did find Rasheed a bit of a caricature; he might have had a touch more humanity as Kabul and his life came crashing down around him. Khalid Hosseini must go on writing. One wonders whether, during the Vietnam war, such insightful stories of a land American troops were fighting in were available to audiences at home. Will worthy bestsellers like this one have any impact on the bloodshed currently engulfing Afghanistan and the Pukhtun areas of Pakistan?