And the Mountains Echoed

MountainsAt first glance, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini may seem like a collection of individual short stories. From Kabul to San Francisco, Greece to Afghan, people leading completely different lives fight their own daily battles. But as the plot expands, the stories become complex and intertwined. Pari’s journey of finding her lost brother, Mr. Wahdati’s forbidden love for Nabi, Idris and Timur’s return to Afghan to reconnect with their childhood, Adel’s discovery of his father’s true nature, Markos’s friendship with Thalia…One thing leads to another, the fate of each character dates back to long before they were even born.

In reality, families not only love, protect, and honor each other, but also, in one way or the other, hurt and betray each other. And the Mountain Echoed recognizes this as it explores the many ways in which families interact and the surprising actions taken by the closed ones.

Many stories in this book do not have your typical perfect or even satisfactory ending. Abdullah never gets to enjoy the joy of reuniting with his little sister; Parwana never tells her sister the truth of her injury. But that’s just how it is. Some questions will remain forever unanswered. There will also be regrets. It’s all a part of life.

“In her smile, Idris sees how little of the world he has known, even at thirty-five years of age, its savageness, its cruelty, the boundless brutality.”

When Idris sees Roshi, the little girl who’s the only survivor of the murder of her whole family, he feels powerless. Things like this are out of his life and completely unimaginable. Idris promises to find a doctor for Roshi’s, but…life gets in the way. As he goes back to the US, he finds the distance between him and Roshi “infinite, insurmountable,” his promise to her “misguided, a reckless mistake, a terrible misreading of the measures of his own powers and will and character.” The initial indignation and ambition are soon replaced by the numbness and comfort at home. Continue reading