Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

Title: And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
ISBN: 9781594631764
Pages: 416
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Riverhead
Genre: Literary Fiction, Cultural Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

A man sets out from his small Afghani village with his young daughter in tow, headed for the big city of Kabul. Though he’s tried to leave his son, Abdullah, behind, Abdullah’s obstinance has surprised him, and so the three, the father and two children, Abdullah and Pari, make their way to the city. This seemingly small journey will change their lives forever and impact hundreds of others over the course of the next sixty years.

Review:

In And the Mountains Echoed, one character says, “Kabul is…a thousand tragedies per square mile.” A quiet, but profound, statement, and it’s a theme that Hosseini explores in his latest novel. This isn’t a book of earth-shattering sadness or huge tragedy; instead, it’s about the smaller, more personal realities that Afghani people must face every day. In that sense, it feels like a quieter novel than Hosseini’s first two, at once more personal, yet also broader, relating to all the people of Afghanistan rather than telling a single story.

The novel encompasses many years, from the early 1950s to the present; though it seemingly tells the story of one family, it does so in a disparate way. The reader is provided with glimpses of these characters as they grow, change, and make their ways in the world. In some ways, And the Mountains Echoed can be seen as a series of (very) interconnected short stories, rather than a singular novel; though they revolve around the same people generally, readers are treated to many different stories, many different tragedies, on every single page.

But that’s not to say And the Mountains Echoed is a sad book. Of course, there is much sadness within its pages, as there is much sadness in the plight of Afghani people. However, Hosseini manages to balance those tragedies with small bursts of happiness and joy. Whether it’s the enduring friendship between a moneyed man and his chauffer or the motivations of a Western doctor who’s come to post-9/11 Kabul to help in any way he can, there is so much good in this novel. Rather than leaving this novel with a heavy heart, you will feel uplifted by every page of it. Even when things seem bleak, if you have faith in Hosseini, he will reward you magnificently.

The characters in And the Mountains Echoed are incredibly well drawn, and that’s saying something considering some of them only appear for a few pages here and there. Each and every one of them leaps off the page, and readers will be aching to know what happens to them, hoping that somehow, everything will turn out okay. These are characters who will stick with you long after the pages are turned, accompany you as you go about your daily life, and you won’t be able to stop thinking about what Hosseini has crafted.

You can’t review a Hosseini novel without mentioning his gorgeous prose, and he has outdone himself in And the Mountains Echoed. It is mind-bogglingly beautiful; I cannot describe in words how wonderful the language is. Indeed, I feel that it’s hard to relate just how good this book is as a whole; I can guarantee you that, despite my gushing, I have not done this book justice. It’s quite possibly his best book yet; quiet, beautiful, and incredibly moving. I don’t think I need to tell you to pick this one up as soon as it’s released.

Other books by Khaled Hosseini:

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Comments

  1. Lovely review, Swapna. I have this book on my list, and though I’ve heard it’s enormously sad, I like that you mentioned the small bursts of joy scattered throughout.

  2. Lovely review, Swapna. I have this book on my list, and though I’ve heard it’s enormously sad, I like that you mentioned the small bursts of joy scattered throughout.

  3. This is at the top of my wish list and I cannot wait to read it :) Great review, thanks!

  4. This is at the top of my wish list and I cannot wait to read it :) Great review, thanks!

  5. I’m so jealous of those who have gotten their hands on this already. I’m also happy to hear the good reviews. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  6. I’m so jealous of those who have gotten their hands on this already. I’m also happy to hear the good reviews. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  7. Khaled Hosseini is doing an event at the college where I work this summer, so I can’t wait to read this so I’ll be ready! I like the way you describe the balance of sadness and joy in the story.

  8. Khaled Hosseini is doing an event at the college where I work this summer, so I can’t wait to read this so I’ll be ready! I like the way you describe the balance of sadness and joy in the story.

  9. Was waiting for your review ever since you put it in your currently reading list…I am definitely gonna read this..Will let you know whenever I am done..

  10. Was waiting for your review ever since you put it in your currently reading list…I am definitely gonna read this..Will let you know whenever I am done..

  11. I pinned high expectations on this book and I was not disappointed This book reminded me a little of Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides. Mr. Hosseini had done a brilliant job in weaving a beautiful and moving tale of Family, Love and loss. The ending brought tears to my eyes. I would definitely read this book again soon! :) Thank You Mr.Hosseini!! Worth the wait!! Flipkart you had done a great job again. Kudos!

    P.S – Mr. Hosseini please try to write books a little soon I can’t wait for your beautiful books this long :) :) Good Day!!

  12. I pinned high expectations on this book and I was not disappointed This book reminded me a little of Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides. Mr. Hosseini had done a brilliant job in weaving a beautiful and moving tale of Family, Love and loss. The ending brought tears to my eyes. I would definitely read this book again soon! :) Thank You Mr.Hosseini!! Worth the wait!! Flipkart you had done a great job again. Kudos!

    P.S – Mr. Hosseini please try to write books a little soon I can’t wait for your beautiful books this long :) :) Good Day!!

  13. I pinned high expectations on this book and I was not disappointed This book reminded me a little of Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides. Mr. Hosseini had done a brilliant job in weaving a beautiful and moving tale of Family, Love and loss. The ending brought tears to my eyes. I would definitely read this book again soon! :) Thank You Mr.Hosseini!! Worth the wait!! Flipkart you had done a great job again. Kudos!

    P.S – Mr. Hosseini please try to write books a little soon I can’t wait for your beautiful books this long :) :) Good Day!!

  14. Third in the series of some fantastic piece of writing by Hosseini, this book traces the journeys of a brother and sister through years. The plot of the book is slightly crowded at places but the emotional content is par excellence.

    In particular, the character of Nila brings out the paradox between modernity and tradition in the Afghan society. Though the story is set in war ravaged Afghanistan, it relates beautifully to any of the developing countries, including India.

    While the book could have done without excessive character play like Thalia, Timur etc, the author manages to breathe life into each one of them. Be it the relationship between Parwana and Masooma, Suleiman and Nabi, Idris and Roshi or Abdollah and Pari, the author brings out the frustrations, joys and pains of each of the relationships beautifully, particularly in the background of the ever changing societal and political environs of Afghanistan. And the author manages all this in his simple poetic writing style. The book explodes with colours of myriad emotions and characters.

    Overall, a recommended reading for its musty, earthy and emotional content.

  15. Third in the series of some fantastic piece of writing by Hosseini, this book traces the journeys of a brother and sister through years. The plot of the book is slightly crowded at places but the emotional content is par excellence.

    In particular, the character of Nila brings out the paradox between modernity and tradition in the Afghan society. Though the story is set in war ravaged Afghanistan, it relates beautifully to any of the developing countries, including India.

    While the book could have done without excessive character play like Thalia, Timur etc, the author manages to breathe life into each one of them. Be it the relationship between Parwana and Masooma, Suleiman and Nabi, Idris and Roshi or Abdollah and Pari, the author brings out the frustrations, joys and pains of each of the relationships beautifully, particularly in the background of the ever changing societal and political environs of Afghanistan. And the author manages all this in his simple poetic writing style. The book explodes with colours of myriad emotions and characters.

    Overall, a recommended reading for its musty, earthy and emotional content.

  16. I think Khaled Hosseini is one of the most overrated contemporary writers. I don’t think his characters were well-drawn in this at all, they came across to me as one-dimensional and shallow. I think Hosseini was trying to do too much, cover too many emotional strands, too many character types, too many locations, and in taking on too much he actually succeeds in doing none of them well.

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