It Echoed, Witness the Effects...

Title: And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Published by: Riverhead Books on 21st May 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Kabul, Afghanistan / California, U.S / Paris, France / Tinos, Greece
Format: Hardcover, 404 paged
My Copy Source: Bought (Powerbooks)

An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.

Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.  —Goodreads


They tell me I must wade into waters, where I will soon drown. Before I march in, I leave this on the shore for you. I pray you find it, sister, so you will know what was in my heart as I went under.”

I finally finished this book! It took me a whole month to actually finish it. I was always busy that's why I found it hard to find time to finish it, and since it's a week long vacation for us college students who are not yet on vacation here in the Philippines, I finally had the luxury of laying down on my bed with books in my hand.

You have been seeing pictures of this book all over my social media accounts because I got all this hyped up energy that I am reading a Khaled Hosseini book for the first time. I know, I know, The Kite Runner is the best, but this book is the copy that I got for the cheapest price ever.  Okay so, all the energy has already died down when I was in the middle of the book when I finally had this weird feeling inside of me, like "Where is this story taking me?", and um, I was a wee bit disappointed, but finally regained a happy face albeit teary eyed in the ending.

The first part of the book was the best part for me. It got me hooked, it got me interested by the enchanting stories of the divs and jinns and all those stuff. It gave me the first glimpse of how great a story teller Mr. Hosseini was. This story actually gave me an idea of what would happen next and really, it's a great move.

As the story progressed, a lot of characters have been constantly popping up on every chapter and at times, I found it hard to keep up, especially with the names that are unusual for me because they are Afghan names. I really didn't see how essential they are to the story of Pari and Abdullah, the two siblings separated when they were young, and up until I finished the book, I still don't see it. Apart from the fact, though, that they are all connected in a way that their lives really intersect at some point or two but then again, looking back to the quote I have posted on my Tumblr., realization dawned, but didn't satisfy me at all.
"A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later."
So, yeah, this book is a web of stories of people whose lives have intersected at some point or another but it didn't stop me from bitching, "I could have teared the middle of this book and it will make no difference to how the story would have ended, and the readers would still understand the whole of it". And then here it goes, "no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later". Yes, I believe this to be pertaining on the book itself or even destiny.

  • The book, being on different routes to its eventual destination, which of course, is what I was anticipating right from the day Pari and Abdullah was separated. Of course, a story like this would end in a reunion, so even though it was a maze to get to the destination, it would always find its way to the finish line. 
  • Destiny, for if you are destined for a certain path, riding a train or swimming the ocean, whatever ways of transportation would eventually lead you where you ought to be.
“But 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? Like you have missed the beginning of a story and now you are in the middle of it, trying to understand.”
I believe I have said certain things about the little stories in the middle, which I believed is not essential. I still have no justification if they are not really, but the thing is, I really enjoyed the stories of Markos, the surgeon, Nabi, the chauffeur / the ever loyal employee, and many other stories. My favorite most of all is the last story, which I am not going to tell in here.

Here's a little nursery rhyme, inspired by the great Persian poet, Forough Farrokzhad's poem.

“I found a sad little fairy
Beneath the shade of a paper tree.
I know a sad little fairy
Who was blown away by the wind one night.”

The only issue I have with these short stories is that, you won't get it at the beginning of the chapters because you don't have any idea that it's a different story already until you get to the middle of it when you are already immersed in it. Another is, the frustrating part of it, is when you are already hooked and waiting for a conclusion, that's where the change of character will happen and it's so annoying and it's FREAKING FRUSTRATING!!! (That's why I only gave 4 roses :( )

What I loved about the stories, apart from Markos and Nabi and others I have not mentioned, are the sibling stories. Parwana and Masooma's story is heart-wrenching and really shows something that is reality in a lot of siblings out there, in which a little surge of jealousy will always be present. It's just a bit sad, how their story happened. Next is Idris and Timur (not necessarily siblings, cousins to be exact, but they grow up to have a brotherly bond), shows how siblings can be different in a lot of ways that is always contradicting. Lastly, my favorite pair, Pari and Abdullah, who shared the greatest sibling bond; I can't believe the tragedy that a single act has caused both of them.

But all in all, even with the challenging story line and characters, I loved this book and looking forward to read his first two novels because I have heard a lot of good reviews about those.

Before I end this, why 'And the Mountains Echoed'? I know, it's real obvious even before I read it. My dorm mate asked me when she saw my book, "Why is the title like that?", and at that time I haven't read it yet. I actually guessed rippling effect. I told her this. I told her how one's actions can greatly affect the future, how your decisions right now can affect not just yourself, but the people around you as well, even without your knowledge. After finishing the book, I still stand by my belief that it is the meaning of the title and it is. Here is a little interview by Huffington Post with Mr. Hosseini himself:

Can you tell us a little about the title, And the Mountains Echoed?
The inspiration for it was The Nurse's Song, a lovely poem by William Blake, in which he ends a verse with the line, "And all the hills echoed."


"Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed,
And all the hills echoed."

I changed "hills" to "mountains" partly because of the obvious nature of Afghanistan's topography, but also because of the pervasive presence of mountains in the book. In fact, the mountains in this book bear sole witness to a couple of key, pivotal events. Just as a mountain would echo back a shout, the fateful acts committed before the mountains too emit an echo. They have a rippling effect, expanding outward, touching lives further and further away. I liked the idea of a decision or an act echoing through both place and time, altering the fates of characters both living and not yet born.
The whole interview here.
Khaled Hosseini now has easily become one of my favorite authors because he writes love stories. Not the ones where there's a boy and there's this girl, but a love story of family and I am always greatly affected  by stories (especially For One More Day and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by my favorite author, Mitch Albom) that includes family because family is the dearest thing to me and reading family stories always make me teary eyed.

Love in all its myriad forms is what stands out to me so powerfully in all three of your book and is why I ultimately end up sobbing at some point in each of them. The emotion you convey is so raw, so real and so universal. Talk to me about love.
My books are love stories at core, really. But I am interested in manifestations of love beyond the traditional romantic notion. In fact, I seem not particularly inclined to write romantic love as a narrative motive or as an easy source of happiness for my characters. I am more interested in love that blooms in the most unexpected places, between people who don't really see it coming -the co-wives in A Thousand Splendid Suns, for instance, or between Nabi, the chauffeur in And the Mountains Echoed, and his employer. My characters search love and human connection, and in that process face the limitations of their own hearts and see their own vulnerabilities exposed. It is the overcoming of these obstacles, in the name of love, that leads to those acts of self-sacrifice and altruism that speak so deeply to me and represent what is best in man.

That's it, have you read any of Mr. Hosseini's book? Share them with me, I am excited to read another :D



4 comments:

  1. I've read this book when Yolanda hit us and I was a highschool student back then. My stepfather surprised me by buying me this book and when I already starting reading it, I was already hooked. Totally worth reading and I can't totally put it down because of the plot. Just this summer, I let my friend borrowed my copy of this book because I want them to know how amazing the author wrote it.

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    1. I agree with you Tin, the first few pages will totally get you hooked. I love the sprinkle of fantasy that Mr. Hosseini did there ♡

      Half of my books are already away from me because I'm passing some great books to my friends so they would experience the delight I felt reading the books. I'm so lucky that almost 80% of my friends are wormiee like me. ♡

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    2. I'm a lil bit jealous with the 80% of your friends are wormiies. I don't have close friends who are into books. There's a huge difference between friends and close friends to share the things I love. I have friends who are bookworms but they aren't in the same course with mine and we don't bond as much. We just talk online and these "close" friends I get to be with every time I'm at school, they have different interests with mine which is really a sad thing for me. Plus, they don't understand how I am really in love with books and they unintentionally make fun of me that I am reading again and again which really hurts me sometimes. They're more into what's very common which are gadgets specially if it's an Apple product, shoes, clothes and anything which isn't related to books. That's why I rely more on bloggers which have book blogs because we have the same love.

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    3. Iam really lucky that almost all of my girl friends are wormiees because I won't get to the stage where people will mock me for reading books when I'm in public.

      Just don't mind those people, they don't understand our love interest with our books and they will never know that it's the best love there is in this world!!

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