And The Mountains Echoed


I’ve wanted to write this review FOREVER. I just didn’t have internet.

BUT, I’ve got internet now, so let’s get down. It was a good book. I really liked it. It’s a captivating tale of the entwining lives of many individuals and how pieces of their lives resonate with each other. There were actually quite a number of characters, one or two which seemed unnecessary but whom I learned from anyway. Because there are so many characters in far apart locations, it almost felt like each time I read a new person’s story, I was packing my bags and jetting off. The book is set in Afghanistan (of course), Paris, America and Greece. I’d like to be able to say it tells the story of so, so and so, but no, there are too many people. I’ll break it down.

First, we learn about Abdullah and Pari, their father and their step mother Parwana who has a son Iqbal. Abdullah and Pari are separated in the most heartbreaking of ways. We become privy to the secret lives of the Zehdati family which gradually disintegrates forming new bonds in the process and breaking a few more. We see the lives of Nila and Pari and their slightly dysfunctional relationship resulting from the great differences in their personalities. I actually enjoyed seeing where all the characters came from, their backgrounds and seeing how that impacted on the person they became.

The book greatly focuses on finding a piece of yourself in someone else and as Khaled Hosseini is famous for, makes you consider exactly how much of life is black and white and whether there are times when people are just without a choice. This book shows us that we should indeed feel fortunate to have parents who love us, because all parents do not love their children, neither are they willing to make sacrifices on their behalves. The friendship between Nabi and Suleiman is to me so amazing and complete with loyalty, trust and selflessness which is indeed what true friendship should be. For some reason, I find the character of Nila Zehdati fascinating and much of what her character says is so poetic and insightful, especially the sixth quote here about the ‘creative process’. I find the fact that everyone’s life (or almost everyone’s) intersects in one way or another just incredible and that also makes me realize that everyone has a story and just next door, someone might be facing a similar plight as yours. This book is one of kinship and many interwoven relationships. I found it fascinating and just enjoyable, even though I had to keep checking how one person was related to the other at times.

Quotes:

Nothing good came free. Even love. You paid for all things. And if you were poor, suffering was your currency.

I suspect the truth is that we’re waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds for something extraordinary to happen to us.

One is well served by a degree of both humility and charity when judging the inner workings of another person’s heart.

“J’aurais dû être plus gentille—I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.”

I know now that some people feel unhappiness the way others love: privately, intensely, and without recourse.

I see the creative process as a necessarily thievish undertaking. Dig beneath a beautiful piece of writing and you will find all manner of dishonor.

She also believed it was always best to tel the truth, to tell it plainly and without fanfare, and the more disagreeable the truth, the sooner you had to tell it.

The rope that pulls you from the flood can become a noose around your neck.

Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.

Every doctor knows this. Sickness permeates a room like steam.

It is important to know this, to know your roots. To know where you started as a person. If not, your own life seems unreal to you. Like a puzzle. Vous comprenez?

But time, it is like a charm. You never have as much as you think.

I’ve struggled with writing this review, mostly because I really liked this book and I don’t feel like my review carries that awesomeness through and because the book is so expansive and has a ton of characters all so interconnected, I can almost not delve into all of them without spilling spoilers. I still hope you all read this book. It’s a five star book in my opinion.