Tuesday, June 11, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Title: And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Read by: Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, and Shohreh Aghdashloo

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Length: Approximately 14 hours (12 CDs)

Source: Penguin Audio Review Copy – Thanks!

And the Mountains Echoed is one of the best books I have read (or listened to) period. I don’t know if any other audiobook has gotten me to tear up so much on my drives to and from work. Khaled Hosseini is a master story teller. I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, but to me, I liked this ambitious novel even more. We’ve all read one hit wonders; Authors who have one spectacular book and then fizzle out soon after. With And the Mountains Echoed, Hosseini shows that he is here to stay and that the quality of his novels is only increasing with time.

And the Mountains Echoed begins with a father telling a heartbreaking fable in a rural village in Afghanistan in the 1950’s. The fable was heartbreaking enough that when it ended with the first CD, I cried. It haunted me for days and I couldn’t even retell it to my husband without tearing up. The book alone is worth it for the fantastic fable. What the children don’t know is that their father is telling them this fable as a way to explain his actions the next day, selling young Pari to a wealthy childless couple. Abdullah was Pari’s older brother and he took care of her after her mother died during childbirth. Both are devastated at being torn apart and it is a loss that haunts them for the rest of their lives.

The book goes through the lives of several people that are impacted by this separation. Each tale was riveting and unique. The tales were told from female and male perspective from countries around the world. While their own stories, each inched the reader toward the final resolution of the overall story. I thought it was a masterpiece, perfectly crafted.

Some of the tales included that of Nabi, a servant who loves his mistress, the unique, talented Nila, and who suggests that she adopt his niece Pari. Parwana, Nabi’s sister that married Pari’s father after her mother’s death also has her own tale. Parwana was the “ugly” twin of her beautiful sister Masooma. Masooma had an enchanted life until one fateful day. An ex-pat Afghan returns to Kabul after 9/11 to reclaim lost family land, and finds that he no longer belongs nor understands his native land. A Greek doctor works in Kabul to try to help those devastated by war and has a landlord with an interesting tale. A young boy adores his father until he learns what it means to be a warlord, and how all of the good things his father has done, come with a price. These are snippets of what the book holds and the stories are unforgettable.

I listened to the audiobook version of this novel. It was wonderful. I enjoyed how there were three different narrators to give each different chapter/story a unique spin. This audiobook held my attention on my drive to work and made me wish it were just a little bit longer!

Overall, I don’t have enough good things to say about And the Mountains Echoes. You should pick it up and discover it for yourself!


  1. I read this in print and thought it was fantastic! I'm happy to hear the audio version does it justice.

  2. I felt like crying just reading your review. This book sounds wonderful, but heartbreaking. I'll see if I can get it on audio too.

  3. I saw this at Barnes & Noble the other day, and almost bought it. Your review is wonderful,and may well lead me back to the book store. I think I'd read it rather than listen to it,though, as I'm not much of an audiobook listener quite yet.

  4. I keep hearing I need to read his books. I saw the Kite Runner movie and that haunted me for awhile. His books are all so sad...I have to really be up for books like this!

  5. His books are well worth reading. I read the other two, this is the first one I "read" by listening to the audiobook. They translate really well to that format.

    Suko - like you I held off from audiobooks for awhile, but my friends Laura and Jenn kept recommending them. Now I'm hooked and its a good way to spend my commute to work!

  6. I expected much of the book as Hosseini is a story teller who makes a foreign world seem present. The family connections are both modern and exotic. I highly suggest a novel that educates the reader on the importance of seeing the larger world of family.