And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

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And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Khaled Hosseini goes for a scattergun approach in this his third novel, spanning over 80 years in the life of Afghanistan and its people. I loved it, but there again I love The Kite Runner too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408842454

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RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB SUMMER READ 2014

Idris and Timur may be brothers growing up together but that doesn't mean that they will grow up to be the same. Nabi is the servant of a wealthy man but carries the secret of a deed he regrets and a love that can't be acknowledged. Then there are 10 year old Abdullah and his little sister Pari; inseparable till something separates them, causing a rift that will haunt them both in some way for the rest of their lives. They're all very different people, born of a nation of great natural beauty, natural wealth and the cradle of civilisation. It's also a nation of great pain and turmoil. These people are Afghans and this is their story.

Best-selling author, human rights activist and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Hosseini gave us the Afghan male experience in The Kite Runner and the female experience in A Thousand Splendid Suns, each book following two specific people (although a different pair each time) right the way through. Now, for novel number 3, he does something different. The book blurb's own synopsis may look as though he concentrates on Abdullah and Pari but their tale only bookends the story. In between Khaled sweeps across a spectrum of situations in Afghanistan pre- during and post-Russian conflict giving us a panorama that will make us smile and, at times, bawl.

Each story seems separate, some without any connection at all. However each is a gossamer thread that will eventually join to make a single intelligible web of relationships. The best way forward is not to panic about whether you'll remember everyone (you will) nor worry about where they fit in (they will) just enjoy each piece of the mosaic as it's placed before us.

The novel vignettes from the 1930s until now, contrasting Afghanistan's opulent heyday with the experience of living in a modern war zone. Indeed the characters are as disparate as the times in which they exist. In fact not all of them remain in Afghanistan; the story sweeps from there, across Europe and through into the USA where the Hosseini family themselves found asylum back in the 1980s. Not all of them are even Afghan as we're invited to witness the problems of being a European plastic surgeon, flown in to assist a medical charity in the midst of a country as hacked to bits as its population.

Khaled does seem to be marmite to many. You only have to read the review of our Jill to realise that there's even a Hosseini rift in Bookbag Towers. For some his books may remain light holiday reading or worse but some of us are hooked. Indeed, And the Mountains Echoed is, for me, the best of a superlative bunch so far, reaching out from a cause and a people for whom Khaled still works. This provides us with pages as full of revelation as entertainment; quite a boast but, there again, I love marmite too.

A bit thank you to Bloomsbury Paperbacks for providing us with a copy for review.

Further Reading: I'm naturally going to suggest A Thousand Splendid Suns but if you feel it may be a bit too much on the lighter side, try the wonderfully thought provoking The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam.

Buy And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini at Amazon.co.uk.


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