Rating: 4.5 / 5
A father is struggling to provide for his family, though class and society constraints have left him barely able to make enough to support his family every day. In desperate last-ditch attempt, he sells his young daughter to a family far wealthier, hoping to give her a better life, while financially being able to provide for the rest of his family. It is a choice filled with conflict, grief, guilt, and it profoundly impacts the next 6 decades for multiple families.
Hosseini is an extraordinarily gifted storyteller, as evidenced not only by And the Mountains Echoed, but also The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. All of his novels are emotionally charged, moving, and profound. The sudden separation of Pari from her older brother Abdullah is the catalyst for many other stories, including Pari and Abdullah’s children, as well as lives of Suleiman and Nila Wahdati, Pari’s adopted parents. While the decision to sell Pari was a difficult one for her father, the conclusion as to whether it was the right choice is left to the reader. While geography and politics are important to the setting, unlike Hosseini’s previous novels, both take a back seat in And the Mountains Echoed. Instead, Hosseini focuses on the relationships between siblings, parent and child, and husband and wife.
Hosseini ‘s writing put him in a league of his own. His prose is absolutely beautiful and haunting. The only reason I did not give this a 5 out of 5 is that I felt the story was disjointed in some parts in relation to time. I had difficulty figuring out what decade the character was in, and had trouble keeping up with the present and the character retelling an event in the past. To fit six decades into one novel is ambitious, so I understand why Hosseini did what he did, but I just wasn’t a fan of moving forward a whole decade in the space of an inch.
Overall, however, I loved And the Mountains Echoed. It is rich, powerful, thought-provoking, and beautiful. Actually, I can say that about his previous novels too. All of them are worthwhile reads.