Saturday, July 25, 2015

And the Mountains Echoed: a great story about a family torn apart

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is a heartbreaking journey one Afghan family must take from an impoverished Afghan village to a modern day, war torn country. From Afghanistan to Paris, France to the United States. The book is told in a series of short stories told from different perspectives as the reader is taken on one father’s devastating choice to a country trying to rebuild.

It is the fall of 1952 and 10 year old Abdullah is being told a story by his father. The story of a father sacrificing his favorite child to save an entire village and the anguish he suffers. Abdullah, his beloved little sister, Pari and their father, Sabor are on a journey to Kabul where Pari will be adopted by Mr. and Mars. Wahdati. In the spring of 1955, Mr. Wahdati suffers a stroke and Mrs. Wahdati to return to Paris, France taking Pari with her. The book fast forwards to spring 2003, as two Afghan-Americans, Idris and Timur, come to Kabul, looking to restore their families’ lands which were stolen by the Taliban. The experience changes Idris as he returns to his cushy and safe life in the U.S. We learn that Abdullah has made it to America where he and his family have opened a restaurant. The story flash backs to Paris 1974 and Pari as a young adult. She struggles with her alcoholic mother. We sees Pari’s life as she gets married, has children and becomes a widow. Until one fateful day, when the phone rings and she learns about her past that her mother took with her to the grave. Will brother and sister finally be reunited? Or is it too late?

I enjoyed And the Mountains Echoed. I enjoyed the epic story of one family as their country is thrown into war, the arrival of the Taliban and the aftermath of the U.S. war against the Taliban. While the political agendas are very much in the background, the reader can feel its presence as the characters interact and live in the world around them. Despite the back and forth in the timeline and the narrators, the story flowed and was easier to read than I expected. I highly recommend And the Mountains Echoed. It is a great story about the personal events in a turbulent region of the world.