And the Mountains Echoed, the third novel of Afghani author Khaled Hosseini, tells the sometimes-devastating story of the brother-sister relationship ripped apart by circumstances and the many lives that are affected in the following years. Spanning almost six decades, Hosseini’s signature flow between English and Farsi transports us across continents from Afghanistan to Califonia, Paris and Athens with effortless grace.
Needless to say, as a fan of both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I had high expectations for Hosseini’s latest novel, but unfortunately, the novel’s ending left me with a distinct feeling of discontentment, as though no real resolution had been offered. It has been previously suggested that the endings of Hosseini’s first two novels were somewhat contrived and even rushed. Hosseini makes an obvious attempt to avoid this, but the result seems to be what is almost a series of semi-linked short stories without much explanation of their significance.
While much of the overall structure of the novel seems a little confused, Hosseini’s writing itself maintains its strength of narrative voice, and provides us with some beautifully poignant quotes, such as one which comes through the quiet voice of Nabi – “I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen.” Hosseini’s writing is, as ever, tremendously thought provoking, and certainly stays with you even after you’ve finished the novel.
The novel is undeniably moving and Hosseini certainly has a talent of weaving together seemingly unrelated stories, but for me, what could have been a heart-wrenching tale of family and loss is lost under a myriad of unnecessary side stories and subplots.