Author: Khalid Hosseini
Release date: UK paperback 8th May 2014
Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction
Target audience: Adult
And The Mountains Echoed is a story of family, of cultural identity. It’s about the ties that bind us and those that break us.
The story begins with a family in a small Afghan village. The times are tough for all the village families. They work long and hard. A father tells his son Abdullah a folktale before he goes to sleep. But the life of the family is soon in turmoil after their uncle helps to organise the adoption of Abdullah’s sister Pari. Abdullah will never stop looking for his sister.
What I had expected from this book was not at all what it was. I expected to journey through the story with Abdullah on his search but in fact the story takes a different direction. We read about many different characters and how their lives are linked to the story of Abdullah and Pari. We see the story through the uncle’s eyes, aid workers in Afghanistan, doctors, the children of Abdullah.
Although there were times when I really enjoyed reading this, especially the beginning, after a while it just became more and more frustrating to be introduced to yet another character. The impact of the beginning became less so because of the meandering format of the book. I ended out skipping sentences and paragraphs here and there just to finish it. I am not fond of books that swap viewpoints on the whole anyway. It makes it difficult to remember who is speaking. I read The Kite Runner about five years ago and I really enjoyed that (even though it is pretty bleak at times).
This was a staff book group pick so I’ll be interested to see if the other members enjoyed it more than me. Overall, it was too long and complicated for my taste but some of the themes were thought-provoking – the cycle of life – child becoming parent, the blessing and curse that our parents can be on our lives, the fear that controls our choices. This book will undoubtedly have its fans.
Source: Bought from WH Smith.