Monday, 30 March 2020

And the Mountains Echoed. (Mindscape Review)

Hi Readers! I type this on mails, all the time, so here it goes again – Hope you all are well & staying home & safe! So, needless to say, WFH has given me a lot of time for things I love to do, such as binge reading for 5 hours or binge watching for 5 hours. So, this is the review of the book I just finished reading. This was the only book that I hadn’t read by Khaled Hosseini. Given that I had immensely loved his earlier books, I thought it was about time to read this.

You can check out the review of The Kite Runner here.
You can check out the review of A Thousand Splendid Suns here.
And, now below is the review of And the Mountains Echoed!

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one...Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari - as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named - is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways in which we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

Unlike Khaled Hosseini’s earlier 2 novels, this one is a little bit different. It does revolve around the people of Afghanistan, but instead of 2 main characters, it is made up of little stories of a lot of people of Afghanistan that nicely tie up together. What is common in all three is that they will have you surging with all the emotions & leave you all cried out. The story writing, as always, is wonderful. The author knows how to play with words & readers’ feelings. If you haven’t read it already, you definitely should!

It’s about a father abandoning his daughter & a son abandoning his mother & a sister abandoning her sister. It’s about how the loss of a daughter-like sibling takes a toll on a brother. There are stories about abusive mothers & their daughters again turning into abusive mothers themselves. There is a story of how a man compels another man to sell his daughter & how years later the same man makes their reunion possible. All these stories feel extremely real. They are about loss, more so than anything. They are about a complicated tangled mess of families. They are about regrets & love & selfishness. In a nutshell, these stories are about time & how different feelings are connected to the passage of time. You will be able to relate to bits & pieces of it. And, if you can’t, it’s because you still have the time to repair your own relationships.

I have rated this novel at 5/5 on Goodreads, as I have the other 2 novels of the author. What I loved about this novel is how REAL it gets. How the decisions you make can impact your & others’ lives incredulously. After I read the first chapter, all I was waiting for was Pari & Abdullah’s reunion. Even though I knew it wouldn’t be what I had hoped it to be, I had hope for something. Because these seem to be real stories of real people, it had to have a real ending too, undoubtedly bitter-sweet. And, while I was impatient to get to their reunion, while reading, I understood the real theme of the novel & how wonderful it was. Picking up people relevant to Pari-Abdullah’s story line & getting in depth about their lives was the new element in this Hosseini’s novel, which I have come to love. I loved the main story but the tiny stories depicting the lives of Parwana & Masooma, Nabi & Mr. Wahdati, Idris & Roshi, Nila Wahdati & Pari, Adel & Ghaloom, Markos & Thalia! All these stories of people of Afghanistan just made the novel richer. I’m saying it again, if you haven’t already read it, you MUST!

I have now completed EIGHT BOOKS in March alone & the total has reached FOURTEEN BOOKS this year. Currently I am reading Delia Owens’ ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’. I’m focussing on this alone as of now, so I will complete it this week!

Until next time,

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