And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
And the Mountains Echoed opens on a father pulling a cart through an Afghan desert with his two young children while telling them a fable about a demonic being taking a beloved son to a fate that at first seems bleak but which we eventually realize might be the better path. This story becomes the tone and common thread that runs through the multiple stories of the book, which span generations and decades. I heard a description of Hosseini's novels: The Kite Runner is about fathers, A Thousand Splendid Suns about mothers, while this one is about siblings. I think this is an accurate description.
The main characters of each story are connected to each other in some way, the threads thinner for some connections than others. But each story has its own tragedy and its own redemption. Sibling rivalry and jealousy but also sibling love and bonds so strong that they are acutely felt even when there seems to be no reason on the surface for the lonely ache.
Hosseini is a beautiful storyteller. It is a rare occurrence for me to feel so connected to the characters that I feel every betrayal, every heartache as acutely as they do. But once again, that is the feeling Hosseini created within me with his vivid descriptions and imagery.
I cannot recommend this book enough. It may be my favorite of his three novels.
Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion for this review.
Next month - Defending Jacob by William Landay