Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis (from the author website):

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. 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.

My views:

After having immensely enjoyed Khaled Hosseini’s first two books – The Kite Runner and The Thousand Splendid Suns, I was a little cautious before starting his third and most recent book – And the Mountains Echoed. I didn’t want to expect too much and then be disappointed. But I needn’t have worried. 

And the Mountain Echoed” was a fabulous read. It had some of the characteristics of the first two books – set in war ravaged Afghanistan, a fast paced story line, grounded characters, heartfelt emotions, etc and once I had picked it up, I couldn’t stop until I finished the whole thing! But in addition to these wonderful characteristics, I felt that this book displayed a more mature writing. It wasn’t as melodramatic as the previous two books (which sometimes tended to give them an almost Bollywood-ish feel) and that was a definite bonus.

The most popular aspect of Hosseini’s first two books was the emotional connection between the central characters. In the kite runner, it was a father-son relationship that tugged at your heart. In A thousand splendidsuns, it was a mother daughter relationship that left you in tears. This book deals with sibling love. That’s the central theme of the book. In addition to the relationship between the central characters, there are evidences of various kinds of sibling (or sibling-like) love throughout the book – the caustic nature of the one shared by Parwana and Masooma, the simmering undercurrents between Idris and Timur, the positive influences of Markos and Thalia on each other, etc etc..

The writing style was interesting. The story weaved in and out of a central plot but the voice was not a constant one. Every chapter was told from the perspective of a different person. Time lines changed from the past to the present depending on the character of the chapter. It took me a while to understand get in to this style of writing and I liked it! At the beginning of every chapter, you wonder whose perspective it is and as the chapter progresses, you find out the person and then you are left to figure out how he/she will link to the central plot of the book. 

The only drawbacks (according to me) were the number of alternate storylines and the slightly overwhelming number of characters. It felt like he had way too much to say in one book. Every side story had an interesting story line, but I felt that these story lines were sometimes distractions from the central plot of the book. And some of the story lines were loose ended. Some of the strong developed characters dropped off the radar to never be seen again and that was a disappointment. And for a book as fast paced as this one, there were way too many characters introduced throughout the book. It was hard to keep track of the characters when you were moving along as such a rapid pace. 

But these were minor drawbacks and overall, this was a great read. Hosseini is a great story teller and his books are all perfect for reading while curled up on the couch with a warm beverage.

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bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was fantastic too!

Cleo Rogers said...

This covers a wider range of time and place of the Afghan experience, including some of Afghan-Americans. Less traumatic that Kite Runner, but still filled with the sadness of that nation's history.
Recommended Maryland Locksmith

Literary Feline said...

I am so glad you loved this one! I have only ever read The Kite Runner by this author, but I do want to read his other books. I am glad you enjoyed this one so much.