I have been kind of postponing this review for quite some time. For obvious reasons…That is because how much ever leverage I give to Khaled Hosseini for ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, I could not think it was anywhere closely remarkable as ‘The Kite Runner’. And I felt bad writing it out because ‘The Kite Runner’ is my most recommended book.
And the Mountains Echoed is mainly the story of Abdullah and his 3 -year old sister Pari living in rural Afghanistan in the 1920s. Abdullah has taken care of Pari since their mother died on giving birth to Pari.Their father Saboor let Pari be adopted by a wealthy couple Suleiman and Nila Wahdati mostly to protect his other children during the next biting winter and also to protect Pari herself from the cold. Abdullah is heart broken and lives the rest of his life waiting to meet Pari again.
Pari is gifted with lack of memory about her childhood owing to her young age and grows up thinking her to be the daughter of the Nila Wahdati. Pari grows up in Paris as Nila’s daughter when Nila leaves Suleiman to lead a lifestyle that is impossible in Afghanistan. Years later Pari is bombarded with the truth, but is it too late to reedeem anything from her lost childhood and her lost brother Abdullah?
The story started with Saboor narrating a fairy tale to Pari and Abdullah on his way to sell Pari. And the reader realizes the implication of the story only when it is known why they have travelled to Kabul. And Khaled Hosseini lets the readers hearts to be torn apart and I was awed by his story telling skills.
When I was through the first 100 pages, my respect and awe for Khaled Hosseini was ten fold and I was ready to displace ‘The Kite Runner’ and then something happened. The story took a turn and Pari and Abdullah took a back seat.
There was Nila and Sulemain Wahdati, Uncle Nabi who acts as their chaaffeur and caretaker, Pari’s step mother Parwana, the story of Parwana and her invalid twin sister Masooma, Timur Bashi and his cousin Idris, Markos the Greek doctor who comes to Afghanistan during the war, Thalia who lives and takes care for Markos’s mother back in Greece etc. Probably these strings of seemingly endless characters took the shine out of the book because I read the whole 200+ pages of the book waiting to know what actually happened to Pari and Abdullah. And in the end of the book, Pari and Abdullah came and the story just stopped without giving me any sort of closure.
I totally agree that the stories of the other characters were very beautifully written and Khaled Hosseini’s brillance is much more clearer by his portrayal of the various characters.But I wanted more of Pari and Abdullah, I wanted to know more about what happened to Abdullah after Pari was lost to him, what happened after he left Afghanistan to come to California etc etc. May be I wanted something which make me weep :P
‘And The Mountains Echoed’ left me with so many questions unanswered…And I feel that that Pari and Abdullah did not get enough words that their story deserved. And hence ‘The Kite Runner’ still remains the ‘most recommended’.
Release: May 2013
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