Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Book Review: And The Mountains Echoed ~ Khaled Hosseini


And the Mountains EchoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not want this book, And The Mountains Echoed, to end.  As I neared the end of the book, I saved the last chapter to read the next evening so I had one more day to look forward to reading one more tale from the master storyteller.  Hosseini is that: the master storyteller.  As I read, I kept thinking what a satisfying read this book proved to be.  It is rare to find a book that satisfies the reader with brilliant writing, a great story woven in a way that does not follow traditional patterns, great character development, and gives insight and understanding to a culture, a people, and a place.  This book does all of that.

Following a pattern of writing that seems to be gaining in popularity, Hosseini uses a collection of short stories to tell his story.  Some writers can accomplish creating a book that is engaging by using this style, and others can not.  Hosseini proves he can tell a good story no matter what style he uses.

I personally love reading masterful short stories that create in-depth character development, create an interesting plot with conflict that does not seem contrived, uses setting as an important part of both character development and development of the theme, and causes the reader to reflect upon the themes and lessons found in the short story.  I believe Hosseini does this in each of his short stories.

He then masterfully weaves all of these stories together to create the larger story of the book.  He creates tension that must be resolved by the end of the book with each new short story.  He uses irony at the end of the story to illustrate the depth of a bond that a brother and sister have despite being separated for a lifetime.

Disappointedly, I found the last chapter in the book the one I least enjoyed.  Perhaps the chapter was not contrived, but it felt like he tied up the ending of the story in a less satisfying way than I hoped that he would do.

When I began some chapters, I wasn't sure I would like the characters, the story, or themes, but in the end, I did with each one except for the last chapter.  Despite this one disappointment in the book, I have rated it with five stars, and have no qualms in stating that this book is amazing.  I loved it.

The book is not anything like The Kite Runner, nor is like A Thousand Splendid Suns, except that it gives us insight into the complex culture of Afghanistan.  It builds our understanding of the Afghan people and how their lives have been affected by the wars in that region.  I am quoting my own review of the Kite Runner and adding it to my review of this book.  And the Mountains Echoed, "is a book that won't let you go. I have not forgotten it, and I most likely won't."  Perhaps, that is the effect all masterful storytellers have on readers.  I won't soon forget this book, its characters, its themes, nor the beauty of the writing.


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21 comments:

Jackie said...

Great review of this book, Patty.
You are a master reviewer...absolutely.
Don't you just love it when you have a book that you don't want to finish because it is sooooo good!
Me too!!
Love,
Jackie

Jackie said...

I do think that I called you Patty...and not Sally.
I can't tell because my comment is in "review" by you...and I can't get it back..sigh.
If I did call you Patty, I apologize with all my heart...(and you don't have to post this.)...but if you post my previous comment, and it says "Patty"...and not "Sally"...I will correct it as soon as I see it.
I am truly such a duffus!!! (is that a word!)
I send you hugs and love, Sally...
Jackie

Elizabeth said...

Great review. I will have to recommend to my book group.

You are an English teacher, so I will tell you a story. I started a blog in 2004 because I had met a fellow I liked and wanted to blog about it as it was unexpected and I wasn't ready to share with friends. I blogged away for some time, then I got an email from an English teacher in California complimenting me on the blog and saying he was using it to teach his English class because it was an example of good writing! Well, I was a bit stunned ... when you blog anonymously you never expect much feedback. His comment got me thinking that my story might eventually be a book ... and eventually it was ... just published this year. So I feel very indebted to all English teachers, though it was only one who gave me that encouragement. I stopped the blog so unfortunately can't look up his address, otherwise I would certainly let him know that his chance remark had a significant effect!

Arkansas Patti said...

I recently bought this book and it will be read in the very near future. I loved his other books and you have intrigued me with his new and different writing style. I have always felt his books could easily go on and on. He really takes us into a country we only know about from headlines of violence. The soul of the people is always missing in those news snippets.

Bossy Betty said...

Thank you so much for this review! I have always been a fan of this author.

Akannie said...

I absolutely fell in love with Hosseini when I read The Kite Runner. I have been wanting to read A Thousand Splendid Suns for some time, and recently got a copy of it when my neighbors was culling bookshelves. I'm saving it to take on vacation this week.

Thanks for this great review...I always feel like I am defending my choices of authors, and I am glad for the reinforcement, lol. I'll be on the lookout for And The Mountains Echoed...

Jeanie said...

I have had this on my "to read" list for a while. From what you have written about it I will now have to move it to the top of the list.

troutbirder said...

I've been mulling over what I want to put on my Nook next. Now I know...:) And I did love the Kite Runner.

Tom Sightings said...

Thanks for the review. I read The Kite Runner and liked it, so will have to put this one on my list.

Olga said...

I cannot resist such high praise. This one goes on my list!

thisisme said...

Brilliant review, Sally, and I thank you for it. I absolutely loved his other two books and rate them amongst my favourites. I have now just ordered this one on Amazon. Can't wait to read it!

DJan said...

Out to get this one right away! I've read his other two books and appreciate knowing the approach he's taken in this one. Thank you so much for the great review! :-)

Joyce said...

I'm glad to know you liked it. I have this on my to-read list, and loved his previous books.

Barb said...

I already have the sample on my Kindle - will begin it soon. Hope you are feeling well. The snow has melted here finally - I look forward to new growth each day.

Betsy Adams said...

Great review, Sally... Sounds like some very interesting characters. I love stories with interesting characters who interact with each other. The USA Cable Network does alot of shows involved all kinds of interesting characters. Both GE and I watch alot of shows on USA and on TNT.

Thanks again for your wonderful comment on my blog today... Loved it!
Hugs,
Betsy

Rose said...

I just finished this book, too, Sally, and loved it! In fact, I was planning on reviewing it in July:) I loved "The Kite Runner" and also "A Thousand Splendid Sun," though I found that one terribly depressing. So I had very high expectations for this novel, and I wasn't disappointed. The last chapter was rather sad, but I didn't feel it was contrived. I got bogged down near the end with Markos' story, but maybe I was just tired when I was reading that. Although this novel was very realistic, I didn't think it was as disturbing as the other two which made me happy, too. Housseini is definitely one of the best contemporary novelists around.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Thanks to your review, I will read this. I loved The Kite Runner, but hadn't quite decided about this one. I do think he's a remarkable talent.

Jean said...

You've old me on it! I'm ordering it pronto. I enjoyed The Kite Runner.

Jean said...

You've old me on it! I'm ordering it pronto. I enjoyed The Kite Runner.

Jeanie said...

That's very high praise, Sally. I've never been a fan of the short story form -- at least not so much -- this could change my mind!

Deb Shucka said...

I completely agree. I loved this book. I did like the ending better than you did, though. Hosseini is a gifted story teller and a master artist with words. I also love that I get to experience another culture with his books, and in a way that makes me understand just how much we all have in common.