Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: And The Mountains Echoed

Khaled Hosseini has done it again. In his latest release, And The Mountains Echoed, he has written a heart wrenching best seller that gives us a window into Afghanistan’s culture and stirs the soul.

Years ago I had a terrible nightmare wherein I had declined to marry my husband and we’d gone on to marry other people instead. Soon after the weddings, I realized with agony what a mistake I’d made and felt the full weight of despair as I understood I could never make it right; we could never be together now that we were committed to other people. It was such a deep and profound sense of agony and loss that I woke up from this terrible dream sobbing so loudly and in such a frenzy I literally made myself sick. This – this feeling of irreversible bitter pain and sadness that cannot be undone – this is what Khaled captures so perfectly in his stories.

And The Mountains Echoed introduces us to two motherless siblings, Abdullah and Pari, and then subsequently tears them apart and keeps us pining for their reunion throughout the novel. We want the satisfaction of their reconciliation. We crave the happy ending that Khaled keeps just out of our reach and it’s this longing that provides the pace for the novel. Along the way, we’re pulled deeper into Pari’s life after the separation and into the life of her uncle Nabi, her brother Abdullah, and a number of other key characters. Khaled has a lot to say about difficult families and about loss and he says it so beautifully with his prose:

"All my life she gave me a shovel and said, 'Fill these holes inside of me',".

"They tell me I must wade into water, where I will soon drown. Before I march in, I leave this on the shore for you, I pray you find it sister so you will know what was in my heart as I went under”
~Abdullah, composing a note to his sister

Khaled takes readers on an incredible emotional journey across continents and many decades as Pari, Nabi and the others live out their stories. I could not put this book down once I began. And The Mountains Echoed goes into the very special subset of books I have read that have moved me so deeply I weep for days after I close the cover.

Buy this book. And a box of Kleenex.

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