Tuesday, July 2, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s third novel, And the Mountains Echoed, explores the fractured history and collective memories of his native homeland and the survivor’s guilt that accompanies those who have chosen to leave a country embroiled in perpetual turmoil. As the title suggests, the novel is a continuation of the author’s searing observations about post-conflict Afghanistan and its population, which is repeatedly exposed to a violence that reverberates throughout time and space. The ever-present, immovable mountains of Afghanistan bear silent witness to the multigenerational echoes of pain imposed upon their people.

The novel begins with an elegiac retelling of folkloric tales involving fairies, jinns, and divs (demonic giants), constructing a recurrent theme that makes the book, in Hosseini's words, “like a fairytale turned on its head.” His contemporary rendition of the archetypal fairytale chronicles the seemingly disparate, yet profoundly interconnected lives of people affected by Russian and North American militaristic intervention. The threads of his story dangle from numerous characters and situations, and eventually enmesh to create an interwoven tapestry of human suffering, forgiveness, and absolution.

Hosseini captures the anguish and humanity of the country he loved and left, and conveys it to the reader with a pervasive beauty that bleeds onto each page. It is impossible not to see the world with enlightened eyes once you’ve reached the novel’s gripping conclusion. I highly recommend this book for its structural complexities, which keep you guessing until the final sentence, as well as the transformative experience that its characters and narrative will undoubtedly impress upon you.
  - Lee Puddephatt

PS If you're interested in And the Mountains Echoed, you can also visit the The Echo Project, a lovely interactive companion to Hosseini's book with digital images and other online content--one piece for each page of the novel.

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1 comment:

  1. I laughed AND I cried. So very well done. I could see the characters and feel real emotions. I couldn't put it down!

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