If you’ve read Khaled Hosseini’s books before then you know what you’re signing up for when you crack open the first page of his newest novel “And the Mountains Echoed.” If you haven’t read his books, then you might want to have a bottle of Jack within reach, so you can drown your heartbreak in alcohol when you finish.
Here’s what the Penguin Group has to say about it:
“An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.”
On the death-by-ripping-out-one’s-heart-from-sadness scale, I would place this as the least heartbreaking of his three books, the other two being “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” but it’s still intense. In my opinion, this book played more with melancholy instead of the usual raw sorrow (and sometimes horror) caused by visceral suffering within his other stories. This is not to say I liked it any less than his other books, in fact, I would consider this the perfect next book, since it wasn’t repetitive of the first two. In all, this is a novel I think everyone will enjoy: Hosseini fans a well as first-timers. He is a master of writing big emotions with small words, and getting those words to lodge in you right where it hurts.
The man behind the books:
Now it’s time to talk about the man. Firstly, I met him and he signed my book. I spent a whole hour and a half in line thinking of something I could say when I reached him. Something short and prophetic that would get all my emotions as a Hosseini fan and wannabe writer concisely to the forefront. Unfortunately, all I could do was giggle at him while he was signing the book. Curses!!
Anyways, back to the group of penguins, and here’s what they have to say about Hosseini:
“With more than ten million copies sold in the United States of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and more than thirty-eight million copies sold worldwide in more than seventy countries, Khaled Hosseini is one of most widely read and beloved novelists in the entire world. The Kite Runner spent 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and A Thousand Splendid Suns debuted as a #1 New York Times bestseller, remaining in the #1 spot for fifteen weeks, and spending nearly an entire year on the bestseller list. Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”
Here is the website where this tiddlybit came from, and underneath you can find a list of discussion questions about the books, if you like that sort of thing: (http://www.us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/and_the_mountains_echoed.html)
Here’s a link to his full bio, as written on his website: http://khaledhosseini.com/biography/
You’ll see in the full bio that he’s also an MD.
So let’s summarize here, at the same time that Hosseini is cranking out international bestsellers, he’s pretty much also saving the world. I don’t usually consider the author and his/her life while reading their books, but I have to admit, with this guy it’s pretty hard not to. Hosseini’s stories don’t end on the last page of his books, they go one and on with the conversations that sprout from them about the country of Afghanistan, and work his foundation does for its people.
There are a lot of authors whose books I love, but they’re not always the best of people, or people whose authorial lives I wish to emulate. Take Faulkner, an insatiable drunk, or Dickens, who regularly practiced child neglection, verbally abused his ex-wife, and perhaps went a little mad at the end of his life ((http://davidabramsbooks.blogspot.com/2012/02/dark-side-of-dickens.html). No thanks.
But Hosseini is a person to be admired for his books and his life. So I’ll leave you with this link to his foundation’s website: http://www.khaledhosseinifoundation.org/index.php
Until next time!