I received this book from Loot for review consideration.
This review *may* contain some spoilers
And The Mountains Echoed starts off in 1952 with a father, Saboor, telling a fable to his two children, Abdullah and Pari. The story is about a young village boy who was stolen from his family by a giant monster (a div). After years of sorrow, the father bravely seeks out the giant monster to claim back his son, but when he does he finds that his son is happy where he was. What the two kids don’t know is that the story was preparing them for what’s yet to come. Saboor told the story to them on the evening before he and Pari were to leave to the city, Kabul. He was going to deliver his daughter to a rich couple, to whom he sold her too.
Abdullah has always been more of a parent to Pari than a brother. Since her mother passed away during childbirth, he has taken care of her, because his father was working to provide for his family, including his new pregnant wife. They adored each other and when they were torn from each other’s lives it scarred Abdullah more than it did Pari. She was too young to remember.
The story plays off mostly in Afghanistan, but also in Paris, America and on the Greek island Tinos. We follow Pari’s story, her life as a child growing up with the Wahdati’s in Kabul and her later life in Paris after she and her adoptive mother, Nila moved there. In the story we learn what happened to both Pari and Abdullah and their children and grandchildren. We are also told the stories of some of the secondary characters, whose stories are all intertwined in some way. One of my favourite storylines were that of Nabi, Pari and Abdullah’s stepuncle. He was by no means a favourite character, but the chapter with his letter to Pari as an adult proved to be my favourite.
“Sometimes you have to cut the finger to save the hand” is the moral of the story that resonates throughout the novel. And The Mountains Echoed is a story of humanity, heartbreak, loss and sacrifice. The characters are colourful and yet varied. I have loved Pari as a character and Abdullah as the doting brother who suffered after the loss of his sister over the years. Nila was a provocative and flawed character, who seemed at first to be someone to sympathize with, but just ended up being a selfish person (and mother). Nubi on the other hand at least tried to make amends for his mistakes.
I’ve heard many good things about Khaled Hosseini, but I had to find out for myself and can confirm that they were all true. Hosseini has the ability to write a story that pulls you in from the first page and makes you feel for the characters, become emotionally attached to them and reminds you that there are good and evil in people. This novel was a beautiful story that I would definitely recommend and I’m even more convinced now that I need to read The Kite Runner!
I’m giving away a paperback copy of And the Mountains Echoed. To win:
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- Just leave me a comment (and your email address) below and tell me why you want to read this book (other than my recommendation). I’ll pick a winner next Monday, 21st of July 2014.
Disclaimer: The book is sponsored by Loot.co.za. Please check out their website for books at great prices!
Prize are open to SA readers only.