Expectations before reading
“Ten-year-old Abdullah would do anything for his younger sister. In a life of poverty and struggle, with no mother to care for them, Pari is the only person who brings Abdullah happiness. For her, he will trade his only pair of shoes to give her a feather for her treasured collection. When their father sets off with Pari across the desert to Kabul in search of work, Abdullah is determined not to be separated from her. Neither brother nor sister know what this fateful journey will bring them. And the Mountains Echoed is a deeply moving epic of heartache, hope and, above all, the unbreakable bonds of live.”
The last sentence of the blurb already says what I expect of this book. I have already read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and I loved both books. They were both very sad but at the same time had beautiful stories and also in a way a happy end. In addition, the books also told parts of the history of Afghanistan, which I think very interesting. And this is what I also expect of this book.
I really like the cover of my books’ edition. A boy and a girl, probably Abdullah and Pari, can be seen in front of distant mountains. Instead of clouds there are white feathers in the sky.
The first two pages are full of praise for this book from many different newspapers and magazines. And some of this is also on the cover. It would be too much to list everything here, but here are those from the cover and the back of the book:
“Epic” – Sunday Telegraph
“Magnificent” – Mail on Sunday
“A story of love, separation, friendship, compassion, exile, memory and troubled history of Afghanistan, spanning three continents and sixty years…Hosseini is a master storyteller” – The Times
“Hosseini pulls off his usual – impressive – trick of breaking your heart and leaving you smiling” – Daily Telegraph
“Hosseini digs deep and brings up diamonds” – Independent on Sunday
“His most assured and emotionally gripping story yet… A testament to his intimate knowledge of their inner lives, and to his power as an old-fashioned storyteller” – New York Times
There are several storylines. It starts out with the story of Pari and Abdullah and this is also the one story that connects all the different storylines. But there is a lot more. I really liked all the different storylines. Often in books with different storylines I am not interested in all of them and I am always waiting for a certain storyline to return. But in this book, they are all great. Sometimes it takes a while until the reader can see the connection to the overall plot, but at some point it is clear.
The characters are very well composed, they are very different from each other and you cannot identify or sympathize will all of them, but I ensure you that everyone will find at least one character to sympathize with. It is impressive how real these characters are, how their actions really make you think “what would I have done?”. Usually in books you have this hero and you think “yes, he is great, he saves it all and his actions are great.” Here you can see characters who do great things to help others but then again they all have their weaknesses. And this is what makes them so close to the reader.
The story is set in different countries and regions. In Afghanistan, in Paris, in the US and in Greece. The places are described vividly. They are very different from each other and you, as a reader, really notice the difference in the way of living of these different places. And you also really notice the change in time.
I really like the style of this novel. When you start reading, you are just kind of “dragged” into this story and it is hard to stop reading. It is quite easy to read, even for a non-native speaker. Even though I have to admit that I stumbled over a few words every now and then, some adjectives describing a scene. But luckily there is an invention called dictionary. 😉
Opinion after reading
An incredibly beautiful and sad story. Or let’s say: Several incredible beautiful and sad storylines that all belong together and add up to one story. The book is very well written and it gives you a lot to think about your own actions and behaviors. Some parts of the story (stories) are so unbelievable unfair, you really want to go into this story and set things right. You want to go and shout at these characters to set things right again… still, this is a really great book and I can really recommend it. But if you can’t stand too sad stories, you should probably rather not read it, because this is very sad and even though it has, in a way, a somewhat happy end, it is most likely not what you really hoped for.