the wonderful world of veena.

26 June 2014

book review: and the mountains echoes [khaled hosseini]

This is one that I have been excited about for longer than I can remember. Whenever I hear that Khaled Hosseini is releasing a new book, I get nearly giddy with the anticipation of it. His writing and his story-telling won me over with The Kite Runner and then took it to a whole new level with the 2007 release of A Thousand Splendid Suns. Finally, after years of waiting, he was writing another book! And it was getting even better reviews than the previous two! How was that possible?

When And the Mountains Echoed finally released last year, I made myself wait for the paperback release [paperbacks are cheaper, lighter, and generally just more convenient]. When I checked online at the beginning of this year, June seemed sooooo far away, but eventually I found myself at the end of May and decided it was time to pre-order it, ensuring that it would arrive at my house on the same day it released into stores. Win-win.

I began reading it almost as soon as it arrived, and I couldn't put it down. Hosseini knows how to weave intricate, heartbreaking tales, and this one is no different. Sweeping through generations and across continents and countries, And the Mountains Echoed tells the story of two inseparable siblings and how one single decision tore them apart forever and consequently changed the lives of countless others along the way.

With each book, Hosseini's abilities as a storyteller continue to emerge, and this one had me turning the pages faster than my brain could process the words I was reading. I had to stop often to jot down a line or a quote into my book, knowing that although I was interrupting my rhythm, it was worth it to have those words to return to even after I turned the last page.

As per usual with Hosseini's books, I shed a few tears and I shook my head and I had my heart broken just a little, but he somehow always manages to bring it back around and not make you feel like life is bleak and empty. He's got such a way with words, and it is evidenced yet again in this novel.

One of my favourite aspects came after the book was over -- at the end of the book, there is an Author's Note from Hosseini highlighting the refugee crisis in Afghanistan and calling for readers to learn more about the problem and to take action. Hosseini and his wife have started the Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help with the situation, focusing mostly on helping women and children in the area.

So read the book, cry a little, and then visit the Foundation's website to learn how you can help make a difference.

currently reading: The Giver by Lois Lowry
eternally reading: Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
next from the list: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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