Thursday, October 18, 2018

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini
Published 2013

After enjoying Khaled Hosseini's previous two novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had great expectations for And the Mountains Echoed; but I was somewhat disappointed.

Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller, and that is not lacking here. His characters are true, transparent, and humanly flawed. His stories are also historically set in a variety of countries. This novel covers six decades of numerous generations, and the characters are all interconnected, in some way, though not always so obvious.

Like his other stories, one of his strongest theme is family connection, and how they are sometimes destroyed by circumstances, like war and poverty. There is also a focus on cultural norms and how that affects natural emotions like love and desire.

One of my problems with this story, however, was that it was experimental, and it had numerous sub-stories with different characters; when one new story began, with new characters set in a new time period, the other story ended. I wanted the first story to continue because I had already invested my interest in the characters. However, throughout the stories, you see the little connections to previous stories and characters, which is acceptable; but now you have to become newly invested in these latest characters. It can feel abrupt, at times.

The end of the book linked all of the stories together, like lose ends. Unfortunately, some stories were not as interesting as the very first story; I lost interest and started skimming. If I start skimming, that means I might put the book down. However, I did finish, but, regretfully, the ending was a little anti-climatic.

So, sadly, I do not have a great review for And the Mountains Echoed. But I will take this time to reiterate: Hosseini's other two novels were outstanding.


If you are a fan of contemporary lit with a multi-cultural and multi-generational story, in an international setting that covers themes of family, love, disappointment, consequence, and sacrifice, and you do not mind a unique story-telling style that crosses decades and multiple characters, then you may like to give this a try. A plus is that Hosseini is a good storyteller. However, I would recommend, if you have not read this author, to start with his first novel, The Kite Runner. 

Someone made this short emotional preview of the book on YouTube:

P.S. I understand he has a new book, Sea Prayer, and I would like to check that out someday.

Have you read And the Mountains Echoed? What did you think?


Sharon Wilfong said...

I have not read this book but I have his other two on my TBR pile. In fact I think I'm going to read them next. Lately I have developed an interest in authors from countries that I whose literature I have not paid much attention to.

And I know I have commented on your watercolor cover photo, but I love how it hits my eyes with bright, rich color when I arrive at your blog page.

Ruth said...

: D Thank you, thank you....

I felt the same about reading Hosseini, being from Afghanistan. He writes about the people and culture in ways I cannot know b/c I don't live there. And he is a great storyteller. Do read his other two novels, for sure, then decide if you want to read more, like this one. It's the same good writing, but in a different format.

I look forward to reading someone else's reviews.

Silvia said...

When I saw the review, I felt bad. I have read and loved his other two books, and passsed on the opportunity to bring this title with me this past summer. While I hate your experience reading it, I am thankful for your review, I don't want to read it.

Ruth said...

I'm glad you read his other two novels. I wouldn't give up on Hosseini either. He's a good writer and can only get better.