Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Date of Publication: 21 May 2013

Genre: History, Drama, Period

Legacy: This is the third book of Afghan author Khaled Hosseini. His first two books, also based on stories of Afghanistan, were bestsellers.

Age Group: Any

Another masterpiece by Mr. Khaled Hosseini!

This book is about Abdullah and Pari, two siblings who are extremely close to each other and are separated to due to unfortunate situations. This separation affects not just the two of them, but several other people, in the present and in the future generations. The book details the lives of all these affected people of myriad backgrounds, who are connected to the lives of Abdullah and Pari, in some way or the other.

Now, there are some books that you like for their unique story, others that you like for their interesting narration; some that you like because of the articulate play of words, others that you like because of their inspirational message...

This book has none of the above attributes. And yet, it touched my heart and my soul in a way that many, many books haven't. Love, friendship, hope, longing, sacrifice, self-preservation, innocence, desperation, and plain human/animal instincts - the range of such sheer emotions explored and portrayed by Mr. Khaled Hosseini through situations and words makes up for the lack of continuous narration, breezy pace, and overload of characters!

There are two aspects of reading any story: finding out what happens in the end (of the story), and actually imagining and experiencing (in your head, of course) the world that is described in the story, or discovering the underlying layers of the meaning of a story. Sometimes, we tend to neglect the second aspect a little bit, because we get too focused on finding out what happens next. I did so in the case of this book, as I was curious to find out how Mr. Hosseini shaped the destinies of the two siblings who in spite of being so far from each other, were connected in so many ways and through so many people.
I would love to revisit the book, may be within a couple of months, to experience the worlds of Abdullah and Pari, whose story I now know, but whose lives I want to traverse slowly, while experiencing and enjoying the deep, rich, multi-layered emotions of the many characters involved.

And that, I guess, is the biggest success of the book!

Rating: 4 on 5

Positives: Strong emotional connect, beautiful depiction of decisions and their repercussions

Negatives: Slow pace, scattered frame of narration