And the Mountains Echoed

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Mr. Suleiman Wahdati Character Analysis

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, leave him for Paris, Mr. Wahdati develops an extremely close friendship with Nabi, his servant. As time goes on, it’s revealed that Wahdati is in love with Nabi—a fact that, in retrospect, explains why he spends long hours drawing Nabi.

Mr. Suleiman Wahdati Quotes in And the Mountains Echoed

The And the Mountains Echoed quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Suleiman Wahdati or refer to Mr. Suleiman Wahdati . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of And the Mountains Echoed published in 2014.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Now, I knew from the start that the marriage was an unhappy one. Rarely did I see a tender look pass between the couple or hear an affectionate word uttered. They were two people occupying the same house whose paths rarely seemed to intersect at all.

Related Characters: Uncle Nabi (speaker), Mr. Suleiman Wahdati , Mrs. Nila Wahdati
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Nabi, who's been hired to work as a chauffeur at the Wahdati house, talks about the dynamic between Mr. and Mrs. Wahdati. Right away, it's apparent to him that the happy couple isn't so happy. It's interesting that Nabi describes his employers as people whose paths never intersect, considering that And the Mountains Echoed is a book that's all about paths intersecting. Paradoxically, two people who are a "family" and live in the same house--i.e., people whose lives should be interconnected on every level--can have less of an influence on one another than two strangers. As we'll see, a person on another side of the world can have an enormous influence over another person, even if they're not related and have never met before.

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I said nothing even though he had it wrong. I was not joking that time. My staying was no longer for him. It had been at first. I had stayed initially because Suleiman needed me, because he was wholly dependent on me. I had run once before from someone who needed me, and the remorse I still feel I will take with me to the grave. I could not do it again. But slowly, imperceptibly, my reasons for staying changed. I cannot tell you when or how the change occurred, Mr. Markos, only that I was staying for me now. Suleiman said I should marry. But the fact is, I looked at my life and realized I already had what people sought in marriage. I had comfort, and companionship, and a home where I was always welcomed, loved, and needed. The physical urges I had as a man—and I still had them, of course, though less frequent and less pressing now that I was older—could still be managed, as I explained earlier. As for children, though I had always liked them I had never felt a tug of paternal impulse in myself.

Related Characters: Uncle Nabi (speaker), Mr. Suleiman Wahdati , Dr. Markos Varvaris (“Mr. Markos”)
Page Number: 126-127
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Nabi explains why he stayed with Mr. Wahdati for so many years At first, Nabi stayed with Mr. Wahdati because of his guilt at having abandoned his niece many years before: he allowed Nila to adopt Pari without protest, and has regretted his decision for a long time. But as Nabi makes clear, he eventually comes to enjoy living with Mr. Wahdati for its own sake: he even thinks of his relationship to Mr. Wahdati as a kind of marriage, providing him with comfort and contentment.

The passage is strange, insofar as it suggests a kind of homoerotic attraction between Nabi and Mr. Wahdati, even though Nabi has previously maintained that he's not homosexual in any capacity. While it's certainly possible that Nabi actually does have some repressed gay feelings (or is somewhere else on the spectrum of sexuality), Hosseini suggests that Nabi feels a less erotic form of love for Mr. Wahdati, similar to love for a close sibling or a very good friend. And yet ultimately, there's no way to understand Nabi's relationship with Mr. Wahdati totally. In spite of the vast length of Nabi's letter, this kind of love is a mystery--another example of the various kinds of "families" the book presents us with.

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Mr. Suleiman Wahdati Character Timeline in And the Mountains Echoed

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Suleiman Wahdati appears in And the Mountains Echoed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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...beautiful indoor garden, white pillars, veranda, and indoor plumbing. Nabi leads Abdullah to his boss, Mr. Wahdati . Mr. Wahdati wears a beautiful, expensive suit, and offers Pari and Abdullah cookies, which... (full context)
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...she’s always had a fondness for the Afghani countryside—the “real” Afghanistan. Addressing her husband as Suleiman, she points out that people in small towns live more “authentic” lives and have more... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The author met Mrs. Wahdati in 1949, the same year during which she married Mr. Wahdati . At the time, the author had already been working for Mr. Wahdati for two... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
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...family, telling them stories about his new life. He was careful never to talk about Mr. Wahdati , however. His brother-in-law, Saboor, would praise him for his career success, calling him Nabi.... (full context)
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One day, Mr. Wahdati asks Nabi to drive him to a neighborhood of the city where Nabi has never... (full context)
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The night that Nabi drops Mr. Wahdati off at the beautiful woman’s house, Mr. Wahdati tells Nabi that he’s getting married. In... (full context)
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One day, Nila tells Nabi that she finds Mr. Wahdati aloof and arrogant. When Nabi tries to protest, she insists that Nabi can be honest... (full context)
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...need to procure alcohol, food, and other things. These parties—frequent since Nila moved in to Mr. Wahdati’s house—are lavish affairs, full of American music (mostly jazz). Nabi is somewhat uncomfortable at the... (full context)
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...deal of money. Nabi next shares his idea with Nila, who passes it on to Mr. Wahdati . They agree that the idea is worth trying. Nabi says that there is “little... (full context)
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...day, Nila screams for Nabi, who rushes to her room and finds her standing over Mr. Wahdati . Mr. Wahdati looks pale, and is making strange gurgling sounds. Thinking quickly, Nabi tells... (full context)
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Following Mr. Wahdati’s stroke, the Wahdati house becomes chaotic and full of in-laws and family members. These people... (full context)
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...on, Nila and Pari remain in Paris, and Nabi stays in Kabul, taking care of Mr. Wahdati , who’s confined to a wheelchair. Mr. Wahdati seems weary and deeply sad. His mother... (full context)
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One day, Nabi is cleaning Mr. Wahdati’s house when he notices an old box of Mr. Wahdati’s sketchbooks. Curious, he opens the... (full context)
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In the late 1950s, Nabi is still working for Mr. Wahdati . They spend their spare time playing cards and other games. As a gesture of... (full context)
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One day, Nabi decides to take Mr. Wahdati for a “morning stroll” through the streets of Kabul. This is a major breakthrough for... (full context)
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The year is 1968, and Nabi is still working for Mr. Wahdati . Wahdati’s mother has just passed away, and Nabi is no longer a young man... (full context)
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...are invading), but in the 90s, Kabul finally succumbs to war. The quiet streets surrounding Mr. Wahdati’s house become loud and dangerous. The house sustains considerable damage from explosions. Soldiers sometimes try... (full context)
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By the year 2000, the Taliban have engulfed Kabul. Nabi carries on as Mr. Wahdati’s servant. In the spring of 2000, Nabi discovers Wahdati lying in bed, gurgling just as... (full context)
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After Mr. Wahdati’s death, Nabi discovers a note leaving him all of Wahdati’s property and wealth. Nabi is... (full context)
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...humbly asks Markos for two favors: 1) to bury him next to his greatest friend, Mr. Wahdati , and 2) to find his niece, Pari, tell her that he’s leaving her all... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Timur and Idris have arrived at Mr. Wahdati’s home, prepared for the party Amra mentioned. The house is lavish by Kabul’s standards, though... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...very ill and nearly died. Afterwards, she felt “lost” and lonely—as a result, she married Suleiman Wahdati in 1949. (full context)