And the Mountains Echoed

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

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And the Mountains Echoed
416 pages; Riverhead Hardcover
And the Mountains Echoed (Riverhead) opens like a thunderclap, with a fable of sacrifice told by a destitute Afghan villager to his son and daughter. What makes his sad tale even more searing is that the children are unaware their father is about to sell one of them. From this dramatic opening spins a constellation of star-crossed characters: Parwana, a twin, suffers from both jealousy and admiration of her more beautiful sister, Masooma—until the day she seals their conjoined tragic fate. Nila, a wealthy sophisticate from Kabul, torments her love-struck servant, Nabi, while her husband, Suleiman, has a secret of his own. Idris, an expat medical doctor, finds that good intentions aren't always enough to overcome terrible circumstances. The moving third novel from Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, asks good, hard questions about the limits of love. These interwoven stories are told from a variety of perspectives, with focus and motive ever-changing, and chapters traveling forward and backward in time and location: a poor village; a wealthy neighborhood in Kabul; homes in Paris, San Francisco and Athens. But Afghanistan itself remains the emotional heart, ravaged by war, invaders and poverty, as well as pitiless winters. Despite often shattering experiences, hope survives. As Nabi explains: "We are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us." Love, Hosseini seems to say, is the great leveler, cutting through language, class and identity. No one in this gripping novel is immune to its impact. 
— Diana Abu-Jaber