I have a hard time seeing a movie then reading the book on which it’s based, so I never read Kite Runner, even though I loved the movie. Kite Runner, based in Afghanistan, is about a wealthy boy, Amir, who befriends his father’s servant’s son, Hassan. Though unbalanced in favor of Amir, the two boys have a deep and loyal friendship.
Having seen Kite Runner, I’m vaguely familiar with Khaled Hosseini’s work and was excited to read And the Mountains Echoed, especially after I kept reading about it as a recommended read online and in magazines. It was also recommended by co-worker. The week I borrowed it from the library near my office, a co-worker walking by my desk revealed that she’d also borrowed a copy that same week from the same library.
And The Mountains Echoed is the first book of Hosseini’s that I’ve read. Once the story got moving, it did not disappoint. As the opening story, a folktale being told and created on the spot by a father to his two children, seemed to drag on, I questioned whether I’d be able to get through the entire novel if it were told in the same way throughout. However, by the time the father concluded his story about a father who must choose between his whose own happiness or that of his child’s, the point of the folktale became clear.
One family member’s love, concern and sacrifice for the well-being of another family member is a constant theme throughout the novel. The opening of the novel—a story within a story– is about a father’s love for his children, however, there are other stories in which family love are explored: siblings, childhood friends, even a faithful servant and his boss.
The novel spans across several directly and indirectly connected characters, continents and countries. Sections are told by different narrators, who continue or connect previous stories. Each heart wrenching story explores the complexity of family ties, which include love, loyalty, jealousy, devotion, sacrifice, understanding and even secrets.
Though, at times, I had trouble recalling who a new narrator was when beginning a new section of the book, And the Mountains Echoed was a thoroughly enjoyable and emotional read. I am new Khaled Hosseini fan.