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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