And The Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hossieni
published by Riverhead Books
In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.
Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page. (from Goodreads)
“It’s a funny thing… but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.”
And The Mountains Echoed is the beautifully written new novel from master storyteller Khaled Hosseini. I thought The Kite Runner was wonderful, and that A Thousand Splendid Suns was even better. Hosseini’s new book also takes us once again to Afghanistan before the fighting, where we are introduced to Abdullah and his baby sister Pari. Their’s is the beginning of this story which is told from many different characters and spans several generations. Rather than one comprehensive story, this novel is almost a compilation of interwoven stories that spans members and acquaintances of one family and their descendants.
I thought writing in this novel was just as beautiful and lyrical as one would expect from Hosseini. He makes the people and places come alive. What I found I did not like as much as I hoped was the actual story. It felt a little too disjointed, the changing of narrators with each chapter. I felt as though I was just getting to know a certain character, and then they were gone. I would have preferred just two or three narrator, rather than the nine the book gave us. At certain points, I was actually a little confused as to who was who and how they connected to the other characters. I would still recommend reading this book, as the author has once again produced a beautifully written piece of literature. Just begin aware that it is different from his previous novels.
My favorite quote-
“But there was no forgetting. Pari hovered, unbidden, at the edge of Abdullah’s vision everywhere he went. She was like the dust that clung to his shirt. She was in the silences that had become so frequent in the house, silences that welled up between their words, sometimes cold and hollow, sometimes pregnant with things that went unsaid, like a cloud filled with rain that never fell. Some nights he dreamed he was in the dessert again, alone, surrounded by the mountains, and in the distance a single tiny glint of light flickering on, off, on, off, like a message.”
I would love to hear from others who have read this- What did you think?
4 out of 5
in Kabul, Afghanistan
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.
He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah)