Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book review: And the mountains echoed

This was the first book I read this year, though I had been meaning to get my hands on this for quite some time. I am not an avid reader, something I wish I was. I enjoy reading, but I read very slowly. It takes me days and weeks to finish a book, as I read and mull over lines being said and reread them sometimes. Also, if I leave a book in between and skip a few days, I forget what I had read and end up reading the same things again to refresh my memory- which decelerates the reading regimen. The trick to battle this is to not drop a book in between. And that’s what I have been doing to up my morale- pick short / not-very-thick books, and read through in a breath.

Anyhow, let me not divert the direction of this post. This is going to be about the book- And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I have read his Kite Runner which is one of my favourite books. I like the way Hosseini writes- simply. He doesn’t write convoluted, long winding sentences trying to establish something eerie and extraordinary. He writes about simple emotions digging them from the depths of human insights. He celebrates human nature excavating them layer by layer, revealing a nakedness of truth that everyone would recognize.

And the mountains echoed is the story of a family across generations; it starts with a father and his two children, of whom he gives one up for adoption. This results in a tailspin of events that changes a lot of lives. There are a lot of characters in this book, each introduced innocuously in the background only to come in the forefront later and channel the course of everyone’s lives. When I was reading the book, it felt like a series of interconnected short stories; each character has a defined arc within his / her contribution to the whole story. It is like how people walk into your life and create stories- play their part and leave- for you to continue yours.

It is a beautiful book to understand the intrinsic human need of bonding- sometimes you desire to bond in relationships, and sometimes it is relationships that bind you entangled. 

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I love hand-written notes :)