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And The Mountains Echoed

and-the-mountains-echoed

And The Mountains Echoed begins with a myth. A family forced to choose one child, sacrifice one to save the rest. This myth shapes the novel, telling the story of two siblings forced apart to save the family.

The novel is told in nine parts, narrated by the people who were touched by this tragic event. Some stories end happily, while others are a mess of emotions – filled with hardship.  Khaled Hosseini always excels with his characters, he finds a deep connection that attaches itself to the reader unwilling to let go.

These characters come from all types of wealth, status and employment. Stories interconnect without realization and the reader is able to see the life of a family from many perspectives.

It begins with the boy who raises his little sister after the death of their mother. A sister’s sacrifice and a brother’s guilt. A man who believes himself to be bighearted is kindly shown his truth. An imitation mother reveals her real infliction. A child locked up in paradise is taught reality. A girl torn from her loving family is rejected by the one who chose her. And a daughter, sheltered by a man who couldn’t bare to lose another child.

This is a beautiful way to show how a story develops over a lifetime. Hosseini shows how many people are affected by a moment. One choice and the story splits in two directions, involving more in the chaos.

Some parts of the story feel disconnected, the narrator too far removed from the family to really grasp their purpose in the plot. Always, in the back of your mind, wondering about that feather. When will the time come? When will we get our reunion?

Hosseini shows the different sides of Afghanistan as well. The poverty outside the city, the wealth inside. The remarkable reactions to the porcelain toilets. The life of the house, the beautiful condition we first see it in, the ramshackle war version and the rented out post war shelter. How quickly things change.

And the Mountains Echoed is a lovely addition to Hosseini’s repertoire and is an interesting and heart-wrenching read.

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Categories: Books, Writer

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