And the Mountains Echoed
Hosseini is a wonderful storyteller, and that is not lacking here. His characters are true, transparent, and humanly flawed. His stories are also historically set in a variety of countries. This novel covers six decades of numerous generations, and the characters are all interconnected, in some way, though not always so obvious.
Like his other stories, one of his strongest theme is family connection, and how they are sometimes destroyed by circumstances, like war and poverty. There is also a focus on cultural norms and how that affects natural emotions like love and desire.
One of my problems with this story, however, was that it was experimental, and it had numerous sub-stories with different characters; when one new story began, with new characters set in a new time period, the other story ended. I wanted the first story to continue because I had already invested my interest in the characters. However, throughout the stories, you see the little connections to previous stories and characters, which is acceptable; but now you have to become newly invested in these latest characters. It can feel abrupt, at times.
The end of the book linked all of the stories together, like lose ends. Unfortunately, some stories were not as interesting as the very first story; I lost interest and started skimming. If I start skimming, that means I might put the book down. However, I did finish, but, regretfully, the ending was a little anti-climatic.
So, sadly, I do not have a great review for And the Mountains Echoed. But I will take this time to reiterate: Hosseini's other two novels were outstanding.
IS THIS BOOK FOR YOU?
If you are a fan of contemporary lit with a multi-cultural and multi-generational story, in an international setting that covers themes of family, love, disappointment, consequence, and sacrifice, and you do not mind a unique story-telling style that crosses decades and multiple characters, then you may like to give this a try. A plus is that Hosseini is a good storyteller. However, I would recommend, if you have not read this author, to start with his first novel, The Kite Runner.
Someone made this short emotional preview of the book on YouTube:
P.S. I understand he has a new book, Sea Prayer, and I would like to check that out someday.
Have you read And the Mountains Echoed? What did you think?