Monday, May 27, 2013

And The Mountains Echoed : A Novel by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed (Riverhead) opens like a thunderclap, with a fable of sacrifice told by a destitute Afghan villager to his son and daughter. What makes his sad tale even more searing is that the children are unaware their father is about to sell one of them. From this dramatic opening spins a constellation of star-crossed characters: Parwana, a twin, suffers from both jealousy and admiration of her more beautiful sister, Masooma-until the day she seals their conjoined tragic fate. Nila, a wealthy sophisticate from Kabul, torments her love-struck servant, Nabi, while her husband, Suleiman, has a secret of his own. Idris, an expat medical doctor, finds that good intentions aren't always enough to overcome terrible circumstances. The moving third novel from Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and AThousand Splendid Suns, asks good, hard questions about the limits of love. These interwoven stories are told from a variety of perspectives, with focus and motive ever-changing, and chapters traveling forward and backward in time and location: a poor village; a wealthy neighborhood in Kabul; homes in Paris, San Francisco, and Athens. But Afghanistan itself remains the emotional heart, ravaged by war, invaders, and poverty, as well as pitiless winters. Despite often shattering experiences, hope survives. As Nabi explains: "We are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us:' Love, Hosseini seems to say, is the great leveler, cutting through language, class, and identity. No one in this gripping novel is immune to its impact.

-review by Diana Abu-Jaber  June, 2013

1 comment:

Rahul said...

Third in the series of some fantastic piece of writing by Hosseini, this book traces the journeys of a brother and sister through years. The plot of the book is slightly crowded at places but the emotional content is par excellence.

In particular, the character of Nila brings out the paradox between modernity and tradition in the Afghan society. Though the story is set in war ravaged Afghanistan, it relates beautifully to any of the developing countries, including India.

While the book could have done without excessive character play like Thalia, Timur etc, the author manages to breathe life into each one of them. Be it the relationship between Parwana and Masooma, Suleiman and Nabi, Idris and Roshi or Abdollah and Pari, the author brings out the frustrations, joys and pains of each of the relationships beautifully, particularly in the background of the ever changing societal and political environs of Afghanistan. And the author manages all this in his simple poetic writing style. The book explodes with colours of myriad emotions and characters.

Overall, a recommended reading for its musty, earthy and emotional content.