Marcus’ home seems to have largely defied the violence that has beleaguered Afghanistan and its inhabitants for decades. However, the house has two conspicuous architectural characteristics that are a direct result of the Taliban’s five-year rule of the country. Not unlike his damaged house, Marcus has been physically and mentally maimed by his experience of war and his encounter with state-sanctioned terror. Significantly, Marcus does not remain alone in his abode outside of Usha. Marcus’ seclusion is first interrupted by Lara, a Russian woman whose brother, Benedikt, fought in and defected during the Soviet-Afghan War and whose fate has remained a mystery to his family ever since. Marcus’ care for Lara consists not only of treating her physical ailments and providing her with food and shelter. He also lets her engage with his house and its distinct features.