Ok first of all don't judge me for a late review, I have had a lot in my plate since I read this one.
Book Details: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Date I Purchased this book: 06/09/2013
Date I Finished this book: 14/1/2014
Like two other books, Hosseini is an excellent storyteller. Great with words and produces images that flow like poetry. The story is touching, emotional and speaks of life's hardships and the difficult choices one must make. Deeper than that, it speaks of how the choices you make now may have a ripple effect- or echo- over time. If you don't happen to shed a tear at some point while reading, you're heartless. He captures your emotions from the very first page and he does this very well, as he did in his other novels. You find yourself transported to 1950's Afghanistan where you smile, cry, and feel pity right alongside the unfortunate characters in this book.
I was comparing this book to his previous two books too often. And let's face it, they were amazing. And this book is incredible in its own right, too. So, I tried to view this as its own book (which it most certainly is) and forget I had ever read the other two and that this was the first time I was experiencing Hosseini. Hosseini tried something different with "And The Mountains Echoed" and that was incorporating a slew of different characters as opposed to just two, like he did in his last two books. Some people could have opposed to dedicating whole chapters to them, such as Markos and Thalia's story and also the Bashiri cousins. Even though these characters were unique in their own way and provided food for thought regarding their plights.
There are many stories within this one story. The characters are intertwined, although many will never realize that they are. Regarding the writing style, the book spanned over several generations and then spoke in the first person from the point of view of different characters from the next generation which got confusing at first, especially as he jumps between past and present. Furthermore, he squeezed in another subplot towards the end of the book (with Iqbal and the commander) and it came off sounding short and incomplete. This format Hosseini used left a lot of open ends and a kind of longing, leaving the reader unsatisfied.
What have I learned from this book?
We (the human race) have (mostly) good intentions. But we (mostly) do not follow through. We soothe ourselves. We convince ourselves. We justify our actions. Or our lack of actions. We have an "out of sight, out of mind" way of thinking. It's a human flaw. And sometimes it has consequences that we cannot comprehend.
I really enjoyed this book. I didn't love it in the same way I loved the previous two, but I loved it still.
Thanks for reading