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A truly heart touching story, that will no doubt have you gripped. Another great read from Khaled Hosseini.Read moreLess
""An epic tale that transcends time, generations and continents. A top read!!! 4.5/5"…"
Book Review: 'AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED', by Khaled Hosseini. Sat 07/06/2014, 21.40 hrs
After the phenomenal success of 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', selling 38 million copies worldwide, Khaled Hosseini returns with his third book. And just like his first two stories, 'And The Mountains Echoed' is a beautifully written epic, partially set against the backdrop of the last 60-years of the land of the author's birth, but additionally also in cities around the world as the narrative expands.
The story presents an interlocking series of events that span generations, about people trapped in the circumstances of their lives, who make life-changing decisions not because they want to, but, ultimately, because they feel they have to, but who do not grasp the grave consequences of these decisions until afterwards. Its characters are linked by blood, coincidence and by the way their lives seem parallel.
The book opens with the 10-year-old Abdullah joining his sister, 3-year-old Pari, and his father, Saboor, on a journey across the desert to Kabul. It becomes apparent that brother and sister are inseparable, and that Abdullah's deep love and sense of responsibility for his sister transcends time and space. It is also clear the family have known hardship their entire lives. The mother of the two siblings had passed away giving birth to Pari. They, along with their step-mother and baby half-brother, are supported by Saboor, who takes work where he can find it, often having to be away for days on end. However, job opportunities are scarce. The sheer financial burden they experience have led to this journey, along with the prospect of further impending struggles to come (another infant on the way, along with the harsh winter which had already claimed the life of Abdullah's and Pari's first half-brother two winters ago). Saboor has made a fateful decision. He must make a sacrifice to save the family. It is a decision that will 'echo' through time, generations, continents.
From this point, the author weaves a multi-layered narrative away from the siblings' plight through to characters you initially assume are merely foils, but whose own individual tales become key components of the book in their own right. Themes emerge: the separation of siblings, betrayal by fathers and mothers and sisters, the grief and resentments of children, the failure of early promise, the way all plans and ambitions can be undermined by sudden and astonishing events.
Hosseini seems to be fascinated by the accidental nature of life, by the way that whole decades of our lives can be shaped by events we do not understand or even know about, about how sometimes these multiple threads can be traced back to one cataclysmic moment in the past, one singular event, one momentous decision.
After two critically-acclaimed and financially successful book releases, it's safe to assume the author probably felt the weight of expectation on him when constructing this third book. However, Hosseini meets these expectations head-on. A terrific book from an author justifiably increasing in reputation as a great storyteller.Read moreLess
I enjoyed this book so much I couldn't put it down. I was worried that I might not keep track of the many different characters and their stories and it was unusual to see the narrative and setting change so often throughout the book. The story was told from different points of view and came together well at the end.Would recommend the book. As good as the Kite Runner, but quite different.Read moreLess
"Fantastic read; couldn't put it down…"
this book had me gripped within the first paragraph; it was easy to read because it was so magnificently written. This book is singularly the most heartbreaking story I have ever read. A word of warning: if you are prone to crying at sad stories, do not read this book in public. I was crying before the end of the first chapter, and by the end of the book there were proper waves of grief and sobbing.
If I were from Afghanistan, I would write a story about how the country has been torn apart - not just by the Taliban and Al Quaida, but by the Russians, the US-backed Muhajideen, and the countless others. I would write about how Afghanistan wasn't always what we see in the news footage. But Hosseini is far more clever than I am. He has written a story which shows how the country was torn apart, but as the background to a far more personal, and relatable tragedy. Rather than point out "look, look what these people did to my beloved country" he points out, "look at humans; look at what we do to each other; look at how the world is; look at what has happened."
The book is written from several different points of view. There are nine chapters, each written from the perspective of a different person. As each chapter begins, you wonder, "wait, who is this? Why have you stopped that other story? I really wanted to know what happened!" The chapters each stand alone as their own story of a person's experience - but they all intertwine, often in ways you don't really expect. The craftsmanship involved in putting this novel together is exquisite.
The story sweeps through several decades, its earliest point being in 1949. Each chapter tells a story; each story intertwines. I don't want to tell you much more than that, because I really don't want to ruin for you what is really a fantastic read.
Hosseini portrays Afghanistan as a normal, human country that existed before 2001, with normal people living normal lives. It makes it into a real place with real people, better than any news show, documentary or newspaper report could or has. We in the West are often ignorant of what goes on outside of our immediate geography, until something happens farther afield. Suddenly, in 2001 we were all aware of the Taliban, and that is what we knew Afghanistan for. We didn't hear much about the 1979 war because it didn't involve oil, and although the US were supporting the Muhajideen, troops were not sent there en masse. Theoretically, what was happening at that time had little bearing on our lives, so it wasn't widely reported. Afghanistan has essentially been at war since then. This book doesn't deal with the fighting or the politics, but rather the lives of the people affected by it.
If I had to give this book marks out of five, it would get a six. I absolutely loved it. For someone whose living room is filled with half-finished books, to finish this book within three days is something that shocked me. And now I have that feeling you get when you finish an astoundingly epic book, and you know what whatever you pick up next is unlikely to fill that gap.
I've not read Hosseini's other books, but I'm currently wondering if they're in stock at my local library.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.