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And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed

Product Specifications
Language English
Binding Paperback
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
About the Book: And the Mountains Echoed From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, the book that readers everywhere have beenwaiting for: his first novel in six years. So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one.... Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pad live with their father and step-mother in the small village of Shadbagh.Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah,Pad, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their skulls touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pad and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event whic ... See more
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Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
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  1. 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
     BITTERSWEET! 11 December, 2013 On
    Speechless ✓
    Swollen eyes ✓
    Messed up mind ✓
    Bitter sweet feeling ✓
    Craving for more time to spend with the characters ✓

    Here is what I have been trying to do for the last one hour (before helplessly falling asleep)-

    Aim: To write a review of the book.
    Result: Several crumpled pages.
    Reason: Mind full of emotions but out of words.
    Conclusion: I will be left like this each and every time I read a book written by Khaled Hosseini.

    Hosseini is a 'magician' who captures your mind with the simple tricks of powerful words and leaves you weeping silently but gifts you with a beautiful yet sad feeling. This time he has come up with an intriguing story of the siblings, Pari and Abdullah. The story may not be so special as The Kite Runner but the love the brother and the little sister share is.

    All I want to do now is thank Mr. Hosseini for giving me the character of Abdullah with whom I can share so many feelings. The bitter-sweet longings I felt years ago when my sister left home for college, all came rushing back when Pari was taken away from poor little Abdullah.
    The tale of how my father lost his sister was as familiar to me as the stories my mother had told me of the Prophet, tales I would learn again later when my parents would enroll me in Sunday school at a mosque in Hayward. Still, despite the familiarity, each night I asked to hear Pari’s story again, caught in the pull of its gravity. Maybe it was simply because we shared a name. Maybe that was why I sensed a connection between us, dim, enfolded in mystery, real nonetheless. But it was more than that. I felt touched by her, like I too had been marked by what had happened to her. We were interlocked, I sensed, through some unseen order in ways I couldn’t wholly understand, linked beyond our names, beyond familial ties, as if, together, we completed a puzzle. I felt certain that if I listened closely enough to her story, I would discover something revealed about myself.

    In the opening chapter of And the Mountains Echoed, a poor father tells his children a story. A monster ravished a town until a child was offered to appease him. In order to save the rest of his family and the town, a father sacrifices his favorite child to the monster. Years later, unable to recover from the sorrow of this decision, the father scales a mountain to reach the monster’s fortress, seeking to bring his son home. But, finding that the boy is happy, well-fed, clothed and educated, he reconsiders. In this story is the core of the tales to come. Hosseini writes of the bond between parents and children, and the sacrifices some parents make to see that their children are well looked after. Does the benefit of a more comfortable home, a richer material upbringing, outweigh the loss of that natural parent-child experience? The theme of parenting, with complications well beyond the keep-or-send-away element, permeates.

    The son of a wealthy local big-shot comes to realize that his comforts come at the expense of others. A massively scarred girl is left by her mother in the care of someone who is probably better suited to raise her. A young woman sacrifices years of her life to take care of an ailing parent. A war-ravaged child is taken in by one of her caregivers.

    I am forever drawn to family as a recurring central theme of my writing. My earlier novels were at heart tales of fatherhood and motherhood. My new novel is a multi-generational family story as well, this time revolving around brothers and sisters, and the ways in which they love, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for each other.

    There are sibling issues galore here. An ugly duckling twin gets revenge on the favored twin, but takes on a considerable burden. A brother and sister who were very close, are torn apart at an early age, and must cope with the absence, of that missing other part of themselves. Friendships that seem more like sibling-hood sprout like poppies in Helmand. A Greek boy is joined by the daughter of his mother’s best friend. She remains longer than expected. A fast, but fragile friendship forms between a rich boy in Afghanistan and the son of a poor man.

    The cast here is international, as is the selection of settings. Hosseini was born in Kabul, but, as his father was an ambassador, he was exposed to the wider world. Dad was posted in Paris when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Hosseini’s time in France informs the parts of the book that are set there. Eventually his family immigrated to the USA, taking up residence in California, another site in the novel. He has visited his homeland since growing up in the West, like émigrés we meet in these pages. One Afghani emigrant struggles with the tension between remaining connected to his homeland, in a very concrete way, or maintaining his separation. How much responsibility for dealing with Afghanistan’s problems lies with those who have moved away?

    Hosseini, best-selling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns returns us to a world, or rather worlds that we have seen before, a harsh Afghanistan as the emotional and table-setting core, and western locales in which are echoed the events of the old world.

    …when you grow up in a Third World country, you know, poverty and affluence are juxtaposed. It's literally next door -- you don't have to go to another zip code. It's right there when you walk out in the street, and there are beggars and so on and so forth. So it becomes part of your life, and you can either not, just not reflect on it, but I must have, because I remember my stories always had to do with these things. There was always some guy who came from a very affluent background and some person who came from a much less privileged background, and their lives collided in some way, and tragedy would ensue inevitably. I mean, sort of a recurring theme in my stories

    One of the points Hosseini makes here is the commonality of East and West, despite outward differences. He mirrors many of his characters’ experiences. People sacrifice themselves to care for those in need of help in both places. Parents are no less stressed in the West than in the East in terms of struggling with decisions about their children. Pain is too much for some in both worlds. In both worlds there are characters who cannot face their futures and opt out. In both worlds young people sacrifice themselves to care for others. In both worlds there are characters who are seriously damaged physically and must cope with adapting to worlds that value beauty or at the very least normalcy. In both worlds parents give up their children. We really are the same beneath our cultures and histories.

    I do not have a comparative character count here, but it was my sense that this was a larger book than his first two. Each of those focused mostly on a smaller group of actors. This time it seemed there was more of an ensemble cast, in multiple stories. The links between some of the elements were a bit tenuous, as if a short story that was lying around was modified enough to serve a purpose in this larger tale and inserted. It is a large landscape and I felt that on occasion we wandered too long away from some of the primary characters, maybe lost some parts of their lives. To compensate for this, when we get back to them, we are offered a reader’s digest condensed report of what has happened since last we checked in. This created a bit of distance.
    That said, there is vast world of feeling here. Not only the agony of parents who feel they must give up their children, but the pain of other sundered familial connections as well. There are deep scars of guilt for terrible acts, and the pain of love denied. There is also joy in finding a kind of love where hope was slight, in reconnecting with those long lost, with saving and being saved. The echoes in the mountains are the sounds of tears, of both anguish and joy, universal, penetrating, human. Listen.
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  2. 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
     A Splendid Beginning, Waning Ending 16 February, 2014 On
    "And The Mountains Echoed" is the third novel by the Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. And though it is said no piece of art should be compared to any of the other works, one cannot resist but compare this novel to the other two bestselling works of Hosseini. For someone who hasn't read his previous works will definitely fall for this novel. But those who have already tasted the beautiful art of storytelling by Hosseini might be a little disappointed. This was my most anticipated book of all time. I couldn't wait to read and was a bit let down. My least favorite of his three.

    The novel's foundation is built on the relationship between ten-year-old Abdullah and his three-year-old sister Pari and their father's decision to sell her to a childless couple in Kabul, an event that ties the the whole narrative together.

    For those who haven't read any of his previous works, within the first few pages of this book, the reader would know he/she is in the hands of a master storyteller.

    Hosseini himself stated that he didn't want to concentrate on any one character and so he narrates the tale from the perspective of different characters. But he visibly fails to develop or build on any character, used left a lot of open ends and a kind of longing, leaving the reader unsatisfied.

    "And The Mountains Echoed" is a superb stand-alone book, however, it's not up to the mark that Khaled Hosseini set for himself with his earlier two fantastic novels "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns". For me, personally, the narration style simply didn't work out. Though this brilliant story-teller, Hosseini deserves a pat on the back for trying out something different this time.
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  3. 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
     A Family Story 28 June, 2013 On
    Spanning across decades, ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ resonates with the familial thread that holds us all together. We love them, we hate them but we cannot live without them – Family. Family is the tie that binds us together and also rips us apart sometimes. But only in the space between parents and children, brothers and sisters and spouses and friends do we let our guard down and be ourselves. And this is exactly what Khaled Hoessini has brilliantly captured in his latest blockbuster novel. Deeply moving, this novel will tug your heart strings and will make you realize that this moment is all that we have. And if you have to finally say ‘I love you’ to your mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son, husband or wife – there is no time like the present. For nobody knows what tomorrow might bring or take away.
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