And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (2013)

download-1In some ways, I like this better than Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, at least in part, because it offers multiple narrators over multiple generations spanning multiple continents, and for most of the novel, I was completely swept away by each part of the story. By the end, however, I had begun to lose track of how the characters fit together, and it seemed to stretch the limits of a fluid story. That said, the most emotionally compelling story is the opening one: in a small Afghani town outside of Kabul, Abdullah, 10, is essentially raising his younger sister, Pari, who’s 3.  Their mother died in childbirth, and their father has remarried a woman with children of her own, leaving Pari unwanted. And so the saga begins as she is given to another family, and Abdullah has lost the love of his life. The story then shifts to Kabul, where their uncle is the chauffeur for a wealthy couple who has taken Pari in. That part of the story is the most central of the book, and probably my favorite in terms of characters and history because it spans the pre-Soviet era thru the rise of the Taliban, and even beyond 9/11, showing how the uncle and his boss adapt to life as it changes in Kabul. Later the story shifts to Pari as an adult in Paris and then to California where Abdul eventually lives, and finally to a Greek Island (that’s where I got a bit lost or perhaps lost interest in the connections). Like Hosseini’s other books, it sometimes feels a bit soap opera-y, but having read this when I was sick with bronchitis, I didn’t mind being immersed in this other world.

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