And The Mountains Echoed

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Having talked TV, I started wondering “What books have I read recently that made me really think?” and I came up with one by Khaled Hosseini that I got for Christmas. It’s called And The Mountains Echoed [aff] (ISBN 978-1-4088-4243-0) and it starts in a way that I can’t quite explain.

However, And The Mountains Echoed [aff] drew me in in a way that I didn’t expect it to. The blurb is below, just in case any of you are interested in reading a bit about it. When I got this book [aff], I read it in a week. Now while that used to be normal for me, it’s been years since I found a book that could interest me more than my night time texting sessions with my best friend, however Hosseini has this style of writing that makes you forget your surroundings and indulges your imagination.

Starting with the tale of Abdullah and Pari, And The Mountains Echoed shows how our actions can affect the lives of those we never expected them to. One thing said or done can change what happens to the people we love and care about. Without giving it away, Hosseini chooses a character from the first chapter to follow in the second, then one from the second to carry on into the third. While the connection may not be clear at first, it soon is obvious who he has picked.

The book opens with something akin to local folklore or a wicked fairy-tale. Like the original Little Mermaid or Snow White, not the Disney versions we all know and love. This almost put me off reading And The Mountains Echoed for a while but I have a rule that I must read the first 3 chapters before I DNF a book (do not finish for those of you not abreast of the acronym). Instead, I stuck with it and was glad I did. Hossaini’s talent and his story telling are a gift, emotionally binding you to the story and its characters. Whatever I thought cruel and too fictional to follow became an actual theme of the novel. Sacrifices are made that hurt – “sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand” – and be prepared to cry proper tears. However, something in the style of writing will keep you reading as you sympathise (empathise?) with the characters and search answers for others’ cruelty.

10-year-old Abdullah is torn away from his beloved sister, Pari, who is sold to a rich family in Kabul. The story is told from different characters and the flow is not chronological. It’s rather built as a series of tales, each told in a different style from a different point of view. I love the way it is written, giving you an insight into each character. It allows you to realise their struggle for happiness. And soon you realise that there are no good versus bad characters, rather they are all human.

I thoroughly enjoyed the clever way in which almost all characters are linked to each other, crossing each other’s paths in their accounts. It took me a while to understand what was happening and when, but I relished the challenge of locating characters and timeframes I knew from previous chapters. It’s not an easy read, and it will test your patience.

The author raises many social issues in this one piece of work: true brother-sister love, revolutionary women, one’s inability to sacrifice his wealth to help others, on the other hand a devotion of the chauffer to his employer, a woman’s loyalty at the cost of her own happiness. I did find some parts too brutal to picture, but overall it was fantastic!

Now I can understand to a lot of people this is not a book that immediately catches your eye and to be honest I wouldn’t have picked it if I hadn’t been bought it. During the time I was reading it, I was making some decisions myself. I’d recently received an offer from the University of Edinburgh to study Astrophysics. While I always knew I would prefer Glasgow and doubted whether Edinburgh would even consider giving me an offer, I was left unsure as to where to choose. As I began to consider my options, this book helped me realise that without my friends and family I would never have got this far and by choosing to move away for uni I would be cutting ties with a lot of them. I know that’s sort of the idea, you get to start being more independent and make something of yourself. But all my friends are staying here and most of them are doing the same course. That was when the real doubt started. However, I went with my gut instinct and have chosen Glasgow University. Hopefully that was the right decision but I’ll never know. But life decisions can be difficult. You don’t know what will happen or who you’ll affect.

But yeah, try the book [aff] even if only to leave a comment about how wrong I am about it!

“Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live in the small village of Shadbagh. To Abdulla, Pari – as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named – is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled.

One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, and how the choices we make resonate through history.”

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If you enjoy reading books such as And The Mountains Echoed, where you have different stories and characters linking from one book to the next, then you’re in luck as I have another brilliant recommendation for you! Calm By The Christmas Tree is my debut novel, and you can find out everything you need to know about it today! Calm By The Christmas Tree invites readers to indulge in some reflective “me-time” and allowing them the chance to reflect on the hope, love, and magic of the festive period. From lovers’ tiffs, to making amends, and from old to young, each of the protagonists are relatable in both character and the lessons they learn. Written for reading before bed, on your travels, or during a brief moment of peace with a comforting drink, these tales whisk you away to a world where Christmas is as magical and important as it was during your childhood. Despite the often painful realities of life, there is always a lesson to learn and a reason to celebrate.

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