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Friday, May 20, 2022

'And the Mountains Echoed' follows families through heartbreak, deceit

Family is forever. This heartwarming sentiment stands at the center of Khlaed Hosseini’s new novel, "And the Mountains Echoed." It follows different families as they become interconnected through love, heartbreak, bargains, and deceit.

Every choice made sets in place a course of events that becomes more complex at every turn. A brother and sister who share bonds stronger than those of siblings; the loyalty between a man and his caretaker, the regret after a decision to abandon a loved one: all stories told by Hosseini are with mastery and skill.

He knows exactly how to manipulate his words to evoke tears, anger, or sentimentality. Set in Afghanistan like all his novels, he once again reveals dimensions of a nation so wholly associated with the Taliban.

At times the multiple dimensions of all the characters can get overwhelming. However, Hosseini brings it back together at the most surprising times. Decisions are guided by fear, love, and ambition, but the characters are defined by their relationships with one another.

Powerfully, Hosseini writes, “I have lived like an aquarium fish in the safety of a glass tank, behind a barrier as impenetrable as it is transparent...am terrified that when it breaks, when I am alone, I will spill out into the wide open unknown and flop around, helpless, lost and gasping for breath."

What I took from And The Mountains Echoed is a deep appreciation for good storytelling, and the realization that although family can love and betray you, we are bound forever. 

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