Khaled Hosseini proves once again that he has an immense talent for storytelling with And the Mountains Echoed.
Having read Hosseini’s other two novels, The Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had high expectations for this book before even reading the first page. Hosseini not only met those expectations, but he shattered them with this novel that is layered with interlocking stories that display incredible emotional scope.
There are many characters in this novel, and each one is unforgettable and each of their stories is incredible. At the focal point, however, is the gut-wrenching story of how big brother Abdullah got ripped apart from his beloved 3-year-old sister, Pari. The consequences of their separation play out for decades and end up seeping into the lives of many others in the most unexpected ways. One of my favorite aspects of this novel – and one of the most impressive feats on Hosseini’s end – is how each character connects with each other, even if it is the most seemingly fleeting manner.
This novel is in a way several different short stories woven together to create one larger piece. Some of the most powerful journeys that the characters took me on included Nabi’s, which detailed how he pined over his employer’s wife so obsessively that he was blind to love the right in front of him. There is the story of how a doctor sought to help a wounded little girl in Afghanistan, only to forget about her as he returned back home to his life of wealth and comfort. Pari’s life is chronicled as one of extremes, as she goes from being a poor girl living in a peasant village to a privileged intellectual residing in Paris.
Simply put, there wasn’t a single character whose life story did not enthrall me; I would list them all as my favorites if I could. The multiple narratives never seemed confusing or unnecessary to me; all of them provided a thought-provoking anecdote on human relationships, behaviors, and emotions.
Hosseini whisks his readers from both the poverty and luxury in Afghanistan to the refined elegance of Paris and also captures the breathtaking enchantment and crippling isolation of a Greek island and the back-breaking work that goes into realizing the American dream in California. With a strategic sprinkling of small details, all of these places came to life.
Hosseini has the gift of being able to lure readers into his books by crafting characters and stories containing an almost startling amount of emotional strength. Not only do your hands feel compelled to keep turning the pages, but your heart urges you to read on about this character that you’ve formed a deep attachment to within only pages of being introduced to them. All too often I can read through an entire novel without feeling even remotely connected to any of the characters presented. That was definitely not the case with this book.
Rarely does a book as moving and flawless as And the Mountains Echoed come around. I cherished every page and both celebrated and grieved as I got closer and closer to finishing it. This novel is an example of storytelling at its best.