And the Mountains Echoed takes you on a journey both metaphorical and literal. A journey embarked by a hopeless father with a belief that the end of it would rescue at least one of his children from the claws of misery that a deprived childhood brings with it. What it does, however, is tear a family apart leaves them with a void that takes shelter within the life of everyone involved. The story travels back and forth in time and with it travel we, the reader, as it explores the intricacy of human relationships, the maneuver of the powerful, the feebleness of poor, the darkness that resides in hearts, and most of all a hope which make everything seem trivial.
It always pains me to read novels written by Khaled Hosseini. The intense portrayal of the unjust and insensitive world. There is so much agony and sorrow that exists and when you come across it in words that are so powerfully woven it leaves you with a heart ache by the end of it, which lingers on days on end. The kite runner and the thousand splendid sun had the same effect on me.
And the Mountains echoed is about separation which shatters a culminating bond between a brother and her sister. The novel starts with a folklore consisting of divs and jinns narrated by a man who is going to make a life changing decision for those involved. In this story we see the reflection of the man’s(narrator) dilemma, who is just a few days away from taking an imperative decision . The little story well portrays the plight of the helpless father who has to do away with one of his child.
The novel covers a span of 58 years from the fall of 1952 to the winter of 2010, it takes us to Afghanistan, to Paris, and to USA. Apart from the brother and sister, Pari and Abdullah, the novel revolves around characters who lie within the same realms as them. The author has done justice to every character and thus the novel has many heart touching stories to tell.
A woman, Parwana, bound by duties and mostly guilt to her crippled sister, Massoma, like she was “… joined at the torso with a thick band of flesh. Two creature inextricably bound, blood formed in the marrow of one running in the veins of the other, their union permanent.”
An unconventional bond between a master, Suleiman and his servant, Nabi, which regardless of their social differences, become so strong that none wants to break free of it.
“Suleiman said I should marry. but the fact is, I looked at my life and realized I already had what people sought in marriage. I had comfort, and companionship, and a home where I was always welcomed, loved, and needed.”
A son who idolizes his father, and wished he had got a chance to be a war hero just as he thinks his father is. But his fantastical world comes down like a pack of cards when he realizes that he has been living a life full of delusions.
The novel bring together life of different people in different world and sometimes at different time and yet with such close resemblance. Where people are bound to each other sometimes out of will, sometimes by blood and other times because they have fallen into a pattern that they are afraid from breaking away. Sometimes there is fear, the fear of life itself and what will it bring along, that death seems an easy and less painful option as compared to living. Yes there are Separations. There are deaths. There is misery. There is sorrow and helplessness but above all there is hope.
What turned me on : The narrative technique and the style as well. Travelling back and forth in time and flashbacks make the narration effective.
What put me off : okay, now, like I said that other than the main theme of separation it is a novel about many different characters and their life accounts . There are a couple of these narrative which are mighty good if we read them on their own but I am not sure if they were really needed in relation with the novel.