Fans of Khaled Hosseini’s KITE RUNNER and THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS have been sitting on the edge of their seats for several years now waiting for his next novel. Well, here it is!
I know I have been wild for this one. Everyone I speak to about this novel is holding their breath. Well, you can let that breath out now. I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but, AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED, is another winner for Khaled Hosseini.
This novel differs from the first two in that it begins in Afghanistan, but moves to Paris, to Greece, and, finally to San Francisco. A large slice of the story takes place in Afghanistan, in and around Kabul.
Almost too many pages are spent setting up the story. Just when I thought this book was not for me, well, it all kicked in. AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED, begins in 1952. We’re in a tiny village just outside Kabul. A desperately poor Afghan, Kaboor, tells his two small children a haunting tale. This telling is crucial to the story. But we don’t realize that until much, much later. What Kaboor then decides to do changes all their lives and the lives of many generations of their family, forever.
This is a novel of family. The definition of family has been stretched here. There are parents, siblings, cousins, and caretakers. Sometimes it’s those who are closest to us who can cause the most damage. One lie, told by one woman, is the basis for several generations of loss and personal devastation. Slowly, Hosseini builds his story, adding layer upon layer, constructing a smoldering tale, until it bursts into flames.
Each of these discordant characters brings a depth of emotion to this story that truly begs to be understood. The amount of loss and the level of devotion is remarkable. A brother searching most of his adult life for a sister seemingly lost to him forever. A “mother” who tells the ultimate lie, not only ruining her life, but that of her child. A young woman who gives up her young aspirations to take care of her ailing parents. And a man, a stranger, who dedicates his life to service to his “master.”
Khaled Hosseini does not write trite literature. You can be sure this amazing novel is full of heart-wrenching trials. Written in sumptuous prose that flows across the pages like satin, this third novel is yet another hit for Hosseini.
Khaled Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation , a nonprofit which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Even though I realize that many of my book clubs have actually admitted that they are trying to stay away from novels taking place in Afghanistan and similar areas, this novel begs to be read. Do not shy away from it. It is important. And, after all, it is Khaled Hosseini.
My galley was very generously sent from Riverhead Books. I can’t thank you enough!