Short Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

Posted on 27 Mar 2014 under Essays

The Mira Nair movie “Monsoon Wedding”, was all about a big, fat, Indian wedding. And yet, the ending was all about a barely planned, almost serendipitous love story and a simple, unassuming little wedding ceremony that’s meant to steal your heart.

Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed” is a bit like that. Unlike “A Thousand Splendid Suns” (or even “The Kite Runner”, perhaps … I must admit to not having read all of it), this is not a tale of protagonists that bind the chapters together. This is a collection of stories of various lives, some of which have nothing at all to do with each other, and yet are linked somehow by some precarious thread, the way nature seems to link all of us to each other, and to everything we see and touch.

Covert art of Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed"

Covert art of Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed”

While the summary at the back of the book may say that this is the story of Abdullah and Pari, two siblings who lose each other in their youth, only to find each other again in old age, there is more to And The Mountains Echoed. My favourite story, for example, is one of almost secret love and devotion. I won’t mention much more about it because I don’t want to give any of the plot away.

Actually, there’s very little plot. At least not in the conventional sense. Like I said earlier, what ties all the chapters together is a vague thread that barely seems to link everything to everything else. Not that it matters. Each of the individual stories within this collection of tales is beautiful in itself. Each could be a novel of its own, and it captures life and how time plays its devastating hand.

The writing is typical Hosseini, although there is less darkness and brutality here than in A Thousand Splendid Suns. This is more a book about love than anything else, and all its various manifestations.

I guess I’m getting really bad at reviewing things, because I don’t have anything else to say. But let’s summarise, as one generally does during reviews:

This is a book about multiple tales, which attempts to do a decent job of tying everything up in the final chapter. The language is beautiful and heart-felt. Should you read this book? Yes, it’s beautiful. Read it because it deserves to be read. Or if not that, read it because I want to know which story you thought was the best.


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