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And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

  Published on 21 May 2013 by Riverhead (ISBN: 978-1594631764)

Published on 21 May 2013 by Riverhead (ISBN: 978-1594631764)

Read with: tissues, massive armchair in a well-lit room, someone to hug

To say that I'm a fan of Khaled Hosseini's writing is an understatement. I have been awaiting for this book with Harry Potter-style eagerness and my life went on standby from the time I got my hands on it to when I turned to the last page. 

So there was no way that I wouldn't love the book but it's far from reaching the 'classic literature' status of The Kite Runner. The book does mirror the themes of Hosseini's earlier works in that it focuses on and challenges our views of family, tradition, morality, and culture. In that sense, it does pull on the heart strings in the same way. Overall, I think that it more closely resembles Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns in structure (i.e. subplots, chronology, varied character studies).

For some reason, it fails to capture the reader as much. The main characters - Abdullah and Pari (siblings separated at a young age) - are engaging enough. But I never felt a attached to them as Amir & Hassan or Marian & Laila in Hosseini's previous books. The plotlines are, expectedly, riddled with unfulfilled dreams, loss of identity, unrequited love, etc., but the events are never surprising and at times even unconvincing. 

Perhaps it's because so many elements of the book are too predicable, but it is Hosseini's exploration of war, cultural depletion, and the fragility of the human condition that makes his works so poignant but beautiful. 

While And the Mountains Echoed  may not have lived up to the hype, Hosseini's distinctively heartbreaking prose will satisfy readers.