Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed

For those of you who cried over The Kite Runner and agonized with the women of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini is finally back with his third novel.  I am always impressed with an author who bides his time after a huge bestseller, and comes back to write another masterpiece instead of churning out, shall we say, crap, for the next few years just to make a buck?  You know some of the authors I'm talking about (ahem...go read John Grisham's first novel - it was brilliant - then see what happened).  Regardless, Hosseini spent the requisite time needed to write another heart-wrenching, page-turning, humdinger of a novel. He takes us back once again to Afghanistan, but if you think you've heard it all in his previous two books, think again.  This time, Hosseini weaves numerous stories together - an Afghan warlord, a refugee family in America, a 'French' mathematics professor, a Greek doctor, a disfigured woman - but the story begins and ends with a brother and his beloved little sister.  It's that childhood trick of blowing the dandelion seeds to the wind; in this book, we ultimately see where they all land, and the fewer than 'six degrees of separation' we all share.  I have not shed a tear over a book probably since Dumbledore died, but And the Mountains Echoed did me in.  It rips your heart to shreds in many parts, but it has realism, love, and redemption throughout as well.  I would not suggest putting this book down and picking it up later; you tend to lose the threads of all the stories, and you really don't want to - trust me.  Take a few days this summer and return to Afghanistan...you won't forget the trip.

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