Sunday, June 9, 2013

And The Mountains Echoed

Title:  And The Mountains Echoed
Author:  Khaled Hosseini
Publication Information:  Riverhead Books, Penguin Group. 2013. 404 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book based on how much I enjoyed Khaled Hosseini's first two books. The book came from a local independent bookstore when they hosted the author.

Favorite Quote:  "It is important to know this, to know your roots. To know where you started as a person. If not, your own life seems unread to you. Like a puzzle ... Like you have missed the beginning of a story and you are in the middle of it trying to understand."

And The Mountain Echoed tells the story of how one decision touches so many lives and how the repercussions travel through time and place. Abdullah and Pari are brother and sister living with their father, stepmother, and stepbrother in a small village in Afghanistan. Through unimaginable and desperate decisions, they are separated when Pari is only three years old. And the Mountains Echoed follows the stories of those touched by this choice - Abdullah who remembers, Pari who forgets, Nabi, the Wahdatis, Parwana, and Markos.

The different sections of this book tell the story from the perspective of the individual characters. It begins in 1950s and continues almost to present day. The geographic reach of the book goes from Afghanistan to Paris to Greece to the United States.

The individual sections of the book to me almost stand alone as stories - completely engrossing stories beautifully told. Yet, for me, the continuity is not there. The characters and the settings and the focus is so diverse between the sections that they seem separate. It does not really hinder my enjoyment of the stories; it is just not what I expected.

A recurring theme in the book is that of stories and dreams and that each of us carries them with us. At one point, one of the narrators says, "A story is like a moving train:  no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach you destination sooner or later."

To me, that summarizes the book. Khalid Hosseini is a masterful storyteller. All three of his books have completely drawn me into the story and kept me there from beginning to end. I cared about the characters and cried and laughed with them. A masterfully written book with lots of threads to follow - each one making you care.


  1. Finished the book..and came to read what u wrote about it. So so so glad you commented on all the different sub stories. ..I didnt see the continuity either. If anything it would confuse me and take me time to adjust. But the ending is the reason of my disappointment. Pains me to say this since I LOVE the author. ..but this was without a doubt my least favorite book from him :(

    1. Sorry about the much delayed response to your comment. I agree. this was my least favorite as well. However, I just purchased a copy to go hear him speak at a local bookstore. I am so excited, and I hope there are more books to come.

  2. I find it very interesting that readers in different cultures and who read the book in different languages share my view as 'the least favorite by Houssein. I am a huge fan of his anyway.

    The beautiful story told by the father to his children as the opening as a sublime metaphor ( which I quite didn't catch at first) is worth the book as I see it,

    1. I am a huge fan as well. My favorite of the three was A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read that in one night and cried my way through it.

      I completely agree with the tale the father tells - Beautiful!