Sunday, July 21, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed

Another gripping saga by Khaled Hosseini

As with his previous bestsellers, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, this novel is masterfully and beautifully written. The scope of Mountains is far broader, however; taking us through overlapping tales of his characters from Afghanistan to France, Greek islands, and San Francisco.

It’s a sad story, as it must be in a setting of poverty and war. Yet even in this landscape of wrenching loss, sacrifice and love we are immediately captivated by his sensory descriptions and the inner lives of his characters.

It begins with an arduous trek across the desert - a father pulling his toddler daughter in a wagon while his son, too devoted to be left behind, defiantly tags along. When they finally reach Kabul, the boy discovers that the trip is to sell his beloved little sister to a wealthy, childless couple.
What follows is a series of stories within a story, spanning three generations and multiple continents. I did find it somewhat disconcerting to jump from one intimate point of view to another. On the other hand, I was happy to gain such in-depth knowledge of each principle character. It helped make the ending that much more uplifting. Still, I wouldn’t rate this work as highly as the previous two. Perhaps it was a mite TOO sweeping.

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in thirty-eight countries. In 2006 he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. He lives in northern California.

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