Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Photo of book

I’m tackling another item on my summer bucket list, to read at least 10 books. I started my list off right with Khaled Hosseini’s latest book, And the Mountains Echoed.

The book is his first in six years and does not disappoint. Arranged in a series of interconnected stories, Hosseini subtly and seamlessly intertwines the lives of his characters across Afghanistan, Greece, Paris, and San Francisco. Their individual stories echo pangs of loss, envy, remorse, and regret.

Within each story, there is a pair: brother and sister, mother and daughter, husband and wife, master and servant. Their relationships are sustained by a constant ebb and flow. Their fights don’t so much end as dissipate, like a drop of ink in a bowl of water, with a residual taint that lingers.

The partners are bound together by love, jealousy, obligation, contract, debt, and guilt. One is forever torn between admiration and dislike for the other, suffering from the unsettling belief that they never really knew their other half.

For these characters, their counterparts serve as a reflection of their own self-loathing, an example of everything they wish they could be, or a representation of something they hope never to become. The magnetic push is as strong as the pull. Two people together out of a sense of genetic duty, doomed already to bewilder and disappoint each other, each honor-bound to defy the other.

Hindu Kush mountain range

Courtesy of National Geographic

It is those who are separated and forced apart, against their will, who are the true victims of this novel: They live their lives seeking to fill a void they cannot and will never understand.

Despite the sense of emptiness that pervades these pages, the message that resonates stronger is to remember that our relationships are permanent. There is no escaping our past, or those who helped write our stories. Everything will remind me of you.

It is for this reason that Hosseini reminds us to treat those who have touched our lives with kindness. You will never say to yourself with you are old, ‘I wish I was not good to that person.’ You will never think that.

This literary success echoes the emotional chemistry and elemental narration that Hosseini mastered in The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. With precise language and beautiful prose, he reveals the rawness of human emotion and the truths of our age. Do not miss this opportunity to get lost in an intrinsic story, and delve deep between the lines.