I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was looking forward to the release of Khaled Hosseini's (you may have heard of him--he wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns--he's kind of a big deal) new book And the Mountains Echoed. I am here today to tell you that he did not disappoint this reader, not even a little bit.
From the first page, I was captivated. From meeting young Abdullah and his beloved little sister Pari in a tiny village in 1940s Afghanistan, readers follow family members and acquaintances through the years, showing how chance encounters create enduring impressions. Many of the reviews I've read of the book center on family and relationships being at the core of the book, but I would say that it is more basic, more primal than that. Simply, it is a book of choices and consequences, the impact of a split second decision, the guilt or grief that follows a person after making a grave mistake. At the same time, it is of simple joys and bittersweet reunions, of loss and regret, of what motivates us to act as we do. I cannot bear to give away any more about the book, because I cannot bear to spoil Hosseini's beautiful stories and lyrical language--I simply cannot do it justice in a blog post. I can only say that this is a powerful book, full of fallible characters that you can't help but love even as they make you feel uncomfortable, rich with the textures of emotion and history.
Highly, highly recommended.