Pages: 463 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.03 ★
My Rating: 3.92 ★
And The Mountains Echoed (ATME) tells a story of Abdullah and his sister, Pari who lived in a small village of Shadbagh. Abdullah loved his sister so much that he would do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. And one day, something happened.
The format of ATME is completely different from Hosseini’s previous works. The book has nine chapters and each chapter tells a different story which was connected to the lives of Abdullah and Pari. It’s more like a collection of short stories. The book spanned over 50 years and it traveled from Shadbagh to Kabul, into the streets of Paris, across the sky into Greece, and California. Each chapter introduced a wide range of characters with their own secrets and stories which were masterfully portrayed by Hosseini. At first, I was annoyed with the format as each chapter was distinctly different to the following chapters, and it took me awhile to familiarize myself with the format. But later, I don’t know how Hosseini did it, but the inscrutableness of each chapter charmed me as the drama unfolded towards the end.
Many people think that this book isn’t as great as his previous books and yeah, I felt the same. Even though the stories were great, I think some parts were unnecessary as it lacked connection to the main characters, Pari and Abdullah. Some parts were somewhat prolonged and I got lost somewhere around there. But then, there was something fascinating in each story; it felt REAL, the emotions were beguiling and raw. The secrets in each story, their thoughts, their different ways in thinking about life, their behaviours and the relationships between characters – they awed me, they repeatedly broke and mended my heart. They made me think on how I should treat the people I love. They also made me think on how I should live my life.
Even though, there weren’t much details of the wars in Afghanistan in this book, Hosseini always fascinates me with his ability in interweaving fictional story with historical background. From this book, I found that the lifestyle in Afghanistan was constantly changing through different period and different place. For example, in 1950s – 1960s, the strides were made towards a more liberal and westernized lifestyle, particularly in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. Meanwhile, the conservative factions were mostly located at the smaller and rural areas. Progress was halted in the 1970s as a series of coups and civil wars took place and in 1990s, when the Taliban was in power. These weren’t described in details but it gave a glimpse of the changing happened in Afghanistan.
All in all, I’m enthralled by this book. The stories, the feels and the ending – they are just perfect.