Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Archive for January 3rd, 2014

And the Mountains Echoed

Posted by nliakos on January 3, 2014

by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead [Penguin Group] 2013)

I’ve waited months to read this book, because I liked The Kite Runner and  loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. When I finally got hold of a copy this week, it took only a few days to finish it, and it did not disappoint. Hosseini really makes the reader feel for his characters, and the writing is a pleasure to read.

It’s hard to say who the protagonist is; there isn’t one protagonist, and different chapters take the point of view of various characters, sometimes in the third person and at other times in the first person. (It wasn’t really clear to me why Hosseini chose to write in the first person with Uncle Nabi the chauffeur-cook and Markos Varvaris the Greek doctor, while using the third person for everyone else. However, that is what he did.) Siblings Abdullah and Pari are the glue that holds the whole story together, but their stories do not take up a disproportional number of pages; the book begins with their tragic separation when their father gives (more exactly, sells) three-year-old Pari to his brother-in-law Nabi’s employer’s childless wife to raise as her own daughter, and it ends with Abdullah’s daughter Pari meeting her long-lost aunt. But in between, there are the stories of Parwana and her doomed sister Masooma; Nabi and his employer, Mr. Wahdati; Nila Wahdati, half-French, half-Afghan, a rebel even in the pre-Taliban era; Timur and Idris, mismatched Afghan-American brothers; Markos’ painful relationship with his mother, and Thalia, abandoned by her own mother, who could not tolerate her daughter’s disfigurement. Besides Afghanistan, the story is set in Paris, the Greek island of Tinos, and Hayward, California. As the book jacket blurb puts it, the novel is “broad in scope and setting.”  Highly recommended!

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