Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Review – And the Mountains Echoed.

I was looking forward to read this third book of my favorite author since a long time. I was still reading The Maximum City by Suketu Mehta (which by the way is a must read) when I bought And the mountains echoed... I was desperately trying hard to complete Suketu's book as fast as possible so that I could lay my hands on the new acquisition. After Kite Runner and The Thousand Splendid Suns, my expectations with the new book were naturally quite high. I was anticipating high emotional heart wrenching tale set in the backdrop of beautiful mountains of Afghanistan. So I braced myself with a big box of tissues for the beautiful journey ahead.

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The story started with a folklore. A story of how easily you can give up something you absolutely love and how far you can go to get it back. The book slowly progresses around the story of Pari and Abdullah, brother and sister closely tied together with the bond of love. How close their relation is, how each cannot live without the other and how finally destiny forces them to go apart into their separate sets of lives. Pari is four when she separated from her brother and quickly adjusts with her new family. The story rapidly moves from Kabul to Paris and America to Greece. Separated in childhood, do they remember each other and most importantly will they ever meet in their adult life is what the book is all about. 

The story telling is very beautiful as usual, the characters are very thoughtfully built. There are however too many parallel tracks of stories, it is the readers’ task to try and built a common link from all of them. The book is emotional but not overtly. I mean you will have that heart-sinking feeling at some places but there will be no tears. I found some portions of the story to be deliberate and unnecessary. And also disliked the idea of a mother and daughter dating the same guy.

When I was reading Thousand Splendid Suns, I was in a dilemma. On one hand I quickly wanted to keep reading the book to get to the end and on the other hand I somehow wanted to slow the process so that I could spend a little more time with Mariam and Laila. After reading the book Mariam and Laila have been constant companions in my life. I have forced, bullied and blackmailed people into reading this book and narrated the story myself to others who would not read. If you are a regular on this blog, you would know that I have also blabbered about the book on numerous occasions here, here and god knows where else. Naturally I had a lot to expect from the latest book of the author I love so much. But sadly I was hugely disappointed. Not that I did not like it, but then I have read better stuff.
Here’s hoping for a mind-blowing fourth book from Mr Hosseini.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book. 

“Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there."

- These lines are written by Rumi, famous Persian poet. These lines were also included in Hindi movie Rockstar

“They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.” 

“You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts, only that it does.” 

“I have a theory about marriage, Monsieur Boustouler. And it's that nearly always you will know within two weeks if it's going to work. It's astonishing how many people remain shackled for years, decades even, in a protracted and mutual state of self-delusion and false hope when in fact they had their answer in those first two weeks.”