And the Mountains Echoed

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And the Mountains Echoed Characters

Baba Ayub

A character in the story Saboor tells his children, Baba Ayub is a simple farmer forced to make an impossible choice: he must sacrifice one of his own children to appease an evil creature, the(read full character analysis)


Abdullah, the son of Saboor, first appears in the novel as a young child, while at the end of the book, he’s an old man, succumbing to dementia. The only constant in his life… (read full character analysis)

Pari Wahdati

The daughter of Saboor and the brother of Abdullah, Pari plays a major role in more chapters of And the Mountains Echoed than any other character, and so is another contestant for the novel’s… (read full character analysis)

Father / Saboor

A Stoic, hard-working Afghan farmer and laborer, Saboor is arguably the most ambiguous major character in the novel. He’s responsible for making the choice to sell his daughter, Pari, to a wealthy couple, Mr.(read full character analysis)


The second wife of Saboor, the sister of Masooma, and the mother of Iqbal, Parwana is the main character of the third chapter of And the Mountains Echoed. As a young woman… (read full character analysis)
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Uncle Nabi

The brother of Parwana and Masooma, Uncle Nabi is the main character in Chapter Four of And the Mountains Echoed. Because he works for the Wahdatis, he is instrumental in arranging the “sale” of… (read full character analysis)


The sister of Parwana, Masooma is described (from Parwana’s perspective) as a beautiful young woman, desired by every man in her community. Although Masooma has planned to marry Saboor, Parwana’s connivances cause Masooma… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Suleiman Wahdati

The wealthy head of the Wahdati’s household, Mr. Suleiman Wahdati is a mysterious character throughout most of Chapter Four of And the Mountains Echoed. After his wife, Nila Wahdati, and adopted daughter, Pari(read full character analysis)

Mrs. Nila Wahdati

The beautiful, troubled wife of Mr. Suleiman Wahdati, Mrs. Nila Wahdati is an unpredictable, romantic, and undeniably talented woman. When she first appears in the early chapters of the novel, she’s desperate to have… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Markos Varvaris (“Mr. Markos”)

The narrator of Chapter Eight of And the Mountains Echoed, Dr. Markos Varvaris is a troubled plastic surgeon, who’s spent many years of his life trying to find a profession that will both bring… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Amra Ademovic

A Bosnian nurse who works in the hospitals in Kabul, Afghanistan following the rise of the Taliban, Dr. Amra Ademovic is a capable and selfless woman who uses her training to care for the injured… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Idris Bashiri

An Afghan immigrant who works as a doctor in the United States, Dr. Idris Bashiri is a quiet, shy, and somewhat self-righteous young man. He resents his cousin, Timur Bashiri, for being more successful… (read full character analysis)

Timur Bashiri

The loud, charismatic, and somewhat obnoxious cousin of Dr. Idris Bashiri, Timur Bashiri is an ambiguous character, since he’s seen entirely through the eyes of his cousin. Idris deeply dislikes Timur, so it’s not… (read full character analysis)


A young girl confined to a hospital in Kabul after she’s attacked by the Taliban, Roshana is the embodiment of innocence and kindness. (She may be partly modeled on Malala Yousafzai, the real-life girl who… (read full character analysis)

Pari II (daughter)

The narrator of the final chapter of And the Mountains Echoed, Pari II (called Pari in the novel), is the devoted daughter of Abdullah and Sultana, and a resident of the state of… (read full character analysis)


The son of Baba Jan, and a resident of the city of Shadbagh, Adel is a young, innocent child, and the main character in Chapter Seven of And the Mountains Echoed. For most… (read full character analysis)

Baba Jan / The Commander / Commander Sahib

An unnamed character, and one of the antagonists of Chapter Seven of And the Mountains Echoed, The Commander is a powerful, intimidating leader, about whom we know very little, since he’s seen entirely from… (read full character analysis)


The son of Iqbal (Abdullah’s half-brother), Gholam is a clever, savvy teenager who befriends Adel during Chapter Seven of the novel. Gholam knows from his father that The Commander, Adel’s father, is… (read full character analysis)


A calm, intelligent woman who appears during Chapter Eight. Ever since being bitten by a dog as a child, Thalia has borne a brutal facial injury, one that makes the people in her life uncomfortable… (read full character analysis)


The arrogant, narcissistic mother of Thalia, Madaline figures in Chapter Eight of And the Mountains Echoed. While she’s lifelong friends with Odelia, Odelia begins to resent her constant talk about husbands and… (read full character analysis)

Odelia Varvaris

The mother of Markos Varvaris, Odelia Varvaris is a strong, tough, and often seemingly emotionless woman. Although she takes good care of Markos, and later of Thalia, Odelia has a difficult time expressing… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The favorite child of Baba Ayub in the story Saboor tells his children in the first chapter of the novel.
A man who lives in the same village as Saboor, Masooma, and Parwana.
An irritable and lazy gardener who works for Mr. Suleiman Wahdati for many years.
Mr. Bashiri
An employee of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1970s, the father of Idris, and the uncle of Timur.
The wife of Dr. Idris Bashiri, a young woman planning on attending law school.
An Afghan lawyer hired by Timur and Idris Bashiri to manage the sale of their property in the city of Kabul.
One of Dr. Idris Bashiri’s two children.
One of Dr. Idris Bashiri’s two children.
The wife of Abdullah and the mother of Pari II, Sultana appears briefly in the final chapter of And the Mountains Echoed before dying of cancer.
Joan Schaeffer
The chief doctor at Dr. Idris Bashiri’s hospital.
A mature, intelligent Frenchman, Julien works first as a professor at the Sorbonne, and later as an employee of the International Monetary Fund. He appears in And the Mountains Echoed in Chapter Six, where he’s the lover of both Nila Wahdati and (later) Pari Wahdati.
A college friend of Julien.
A college friend of Julien.
Dr. Delaunay
The doctor who calls Pari after Nila Wahdati has an “accident.”
King Amanullah
The ruler of Afghanistan in the years following World War II, King Amanullah is a young, “Westernized” politician, who tries and fails to introduce secularism and democracy to his country, and is ultimately banished for his efforts.
A friend of Pari Wahdati, who ultimately marries Didier and runs a profitable travel company.
A young nursing student, with whom Pari Wahdati lives briefly, following the end of her romance with Julien.
Eric Lacombe
The husband of Pari Wahdati (after her relationship with Julien).
The eldest daughter of Pari Wahdati and Eric Lacombe, who ultimately marries Albert and works as a musician.
The middle child of Pari Wahdati and Eric Lacombe, who ultimately marries Ana and has four children.
A psychiatrist who marries Collette.
A teacher at a school in New Shadbagh.
One of The Commander’s bodyguards.
Andrea Gianakos
One of several husbands of Madaline.
A young Indian boy whom Dr. Markos Varvaris meets while he’s in the hospital with hepatitis. Manaar plays a crucial role in convincing Markos to become a doctor, as Markos develops a close bond with Manaar, but can’t save his life.
Madaline’s first husband.
The dog that attacked Thalia and gave her a lifelong facial injury.
Hector Juarez
A soldier and friend of Pari II, who becomes a paraplegic after fighting in Afghanistan.
The half-brother of Abdullah, who lives as a refugee in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His son is Gholam, and his land is stolen by the The Commander.
The wife of Alain.
The husband of Isabelle.
Aunt Nargis
Adel’s aunt.
A beautiful woman who sleeps with Dr. Markos Varvaris, and later burns his photograph of Thalia because she thinks Thalia is his girlfriend.
The child of Saboor and Parwana, who dies, possibly because of Saboor’s carelessness.
Saboor, Pari, and Abdullah’s beloved dog.
The youngest child of Pari Wahdati and Eric Lacombe. He has a poor relationship with his parents and lives in Chad, where he works with Darfur refugees.
The div
In Saboor’s story, the div is a magical creature—not entirely good or evil—who forces Baba Ayub to make a difficult choice: either sacrifice a member of his family, or watch as the div kills all of them. (See Symbols for more on the div.)
Another of Madaline’s husbands.