And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

The book is more like a collection of background stories, all interconnected by a thread, or perhaps more than one thread. They are stories of the various characters in this book, and are told from different points of view.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled HosseiniThe characters: Pari and Abdullah: Siblings with whose story the book starts. A great deal is said about the love between the two. Not a vivid description of their separation is given; however, the poignancy with which their love is described, the reader does not require an explicit description of the separation. Saboor and Parwana: Father and stepmother respectively of the siblings. As a couple, they are characters who remain in the background who appear only as required in the stories of the other characters. Individually, Saboor is described as a storyteller and Parwana’s life is described along with her sister’s. Masooma and Parwana: Twins, one favored over the other, as in many stories, with the neglected one eventually getting what she desires most by committing a heinous act. The reader cannot judge Parwana; at least I could not. For some reason, you tend to develop a sympathy for her, resulting in you wishing that she succeeds. Nila and Suleiman Wahdati: The rich family that “bought” Pari. Nila – supremely rebellious in some ways, intelligent and loving in others. Suleiman – A man who married to prove a point to his family. Nabi: Brother to Masooma and Parwana. Employed by the Wahdatis. His love for Nila made him suggest to his brother-in-law that he sell his daughter. However, it was for Suleiman he stayed on in the residence. Idris and Timor: Cousins who lived across the street from the Wahdatis, whose families migrated to the US when they were young. They come back to Kabul, years later and here the story is told from Idris’ point of view. He is “severely human”. I do not know how else to describe him. Markos and Thalia: Their story seems to have some parallels with that of Pari and Abdullah. More appropriately, parallels may perhaps be drawn between Thalia’s mother and Nila. While all the characters are in different countries, they are all interconnected forming this one perfect tale.
The language/technique: It uses a series of “point-of-view” narratives and multiple flashbacks and flash-forwards. The prose is, like Hosseini’s other works, marvelous. You do not feel a stark rawness of language, and yet, the points are as straightforward as they can be, beautifully arranged and served.
If I were to compare this to his other works, I would still be biased towards A Thousand Splendid Suns. But in itself, it is a moving story and a wonderfully written book. The way in which the seemingly disconnected stories are connected, it gives the reader the “it’s a small world” feeling, like a movie with an ensemble cast. 4.5/5!

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