Khaled Hosseini's 'And the Mountains Echoed' garners rave reviews(Read article summary)
'And the Mountains Echoed,' Hosseini's third novel, is racking up huge pre-sale numbers. The book will be released tomorrow.
Early reviews are in and theyâ€™ve confirmed what weâ€™ve known all along: Khaled Hosseiniâ€™s latest novel, â€śAnd the Mountains Echoed,â€ť is a hit. Itâ€™s also a surprisingly nuanced, morally complex, exquisitely told tear-jerker.
Take it from the Washington Postâ€™s book reviewer, Marcela Valdes.
â€śIâ€™m not an easy touch when it comes to novels, but Hosseiniâ€™s new book, 'And the Mountains Echoed,' had tears dropping from my eyes by Page 45,â€ť she writes, positing that Hosseiniâ€™s â€śsecret ingredient might be intense emotion.â€ť
Hosseiniâ€™s third book, â€śAnd the Mountains Echoed,â€ť hits stores Tuesday, six years after his previous two books captivated millions of readers and spent years on the bestseller list. His 2003 debut novel, â€śThe Kite Runner,â€ť was published in 70 countries and spent almost two years on bestseller lists. â€śA Thousand Splendid Sunsâ€ť also became a bestseller in 2007. Together, the two books have sold more than 38 million copies.
â€śAnd the Mountains Echoedâ€ť isn't due out until tomorrow but pre-orders of the book, in both print and e-book versions, have already exceeded those of "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by almost 95 percent on Amazon.com.
Like the previous two, Hosseiniâ€™s latest novel is a heart-wrenching story. â€śAnd the Mountains Echoedâ€ť is set partly in Afghanistan, but action also takes place in California, Paris, and the Greek Islands. Early reviews have called it a story about family, separation, and sibling relationships. It begins with an Afghan tale about a horrific monster called a div who comes to an Afghan village to demand the sacrifice of a child. The consequences of the resulting sacrifice of a favored son echo through the lives of all the characters explored in the book, most importantly siblings Abdullah and Pari.
Unlike â€śThe Kite Runnerâ€ť and â€śA Thousand Splendid Suns,â€ť â€śAnd the Mountains Echoedâ€ť is constructed as a series of stories, each set in a different place and time and told from a different point of view.
â€śIn less skillful hands, this structure might seem more like a compilation of short stories than a novel,â€ť writes the Postâ€™s Valdes. â€śBut Hosseini carefully divvies up details about the circumstances preceding and following Abdullah and Pariâ€™s fateful afternoon, giving the book a satisfying sense of momentum and consequence.â€ť
One thing that may come as a surprise to readers: Thereâ€™s far less "Afghanistan" and "conflict" in this novel. It appears to be a deliberate decision by Hosseini to reframe the country in readersâ€™ psyches as any other setting and not as a country defined by war, conflict, and turmoil.
â€śI hope a day will come when we write about Afghanistan, where we can speak about Afghanistan in a context outside of the wars and the struggles of the last 30 years,â€ť he told NPR. â€śIn some way I think this book is an attempt to do that.â€ť
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.