And the Mountains Echoed – My best read this year

25 Oct

And the Mountains Echoed

If you’ve read Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns, you were probably wondering if and when Khalid Hosseini would write another book.

It was six years coming – And the Mountains Echoed was finally released in May this year.  In spite of my excitement at hearing this news, between being pregnant, work and then a baby, I only got around to read it a couple of weeks ago.

I loved Hosseini’s first two books.  My granddad was from Afghanistan and Hosseini evokes images of a country that I most likely won’t ever get to see for myself.

We hear about Afghanistan in the news almost every day and we all know something about its tumultuous history.  Yet what do we really know about this country beyond the Taliban and the war?  Very little, and that’s where Hosseini steps in.

He writes honestly and movingly about a liberated country which changed completely when the Taliban came into power.  Reading his books almost feels like looking through a window into a magical, fantasy land.

Perhaps that goes some way towards explaining the popularity of Hosseini’s (Kite Runner was on the bestseller list for 101 weeks) but it’s also Hosseini’s ability to bring characters to life which pulls you into his stories.

At the centre of And the Mountains Echoed are Abdullah and his younger sister Pari.  They live in poverty in a village called Shadbagh but are happy and incredibly close to each other, until one day a trip across the desert with their father Saboor changes their lives forever.  The book travels around the world taking in all sorts of characters, each with their own story but all inextricably linked to Pari and Abdullah.

The first two books were both brilliant.  Beautifully written and bittersweet, they made me smile and cry ((more than once in public…) and captured my imagination.  Has Hosseini made it a hat trick with this book?  I would say absolutely yes.


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