A brother, a sister and a father in 1952 Afghanistan. The siblings separated by desperation of a father. Yes, it is another Khaled Hosseini. Another story set in Afghanistan – of familial love, separation, harmony and desolation of the motherland. If Kite Runner was for boys, A Thousand Splendid Suns was for girls then And the Mountains Echoed is for brothers and sisters.
When you pick up a Khaled Hosseini novel, you already have a bit of idea what it’s all about. Mid-20th Century Afghanistan, a happy family, a terrible thing takes place, there’s separation. The Soviet invasion and the exodus to the West. Life goes on as usual but with a deep yearning for their land and of their lost soul. The early 21st century and there is revisiting of the old land. Loved ones have died or suffering, the children are now adults and realizing their past mistakes with a burning desire to do something. The story thus ends leaving you wrapped in a cocoon of embracing your loved ones and to cherish each and every day of your short life.
In The Mountains, Hosseini does not pace through the story. He lets it unfold gradually, giving you time to absorb each and every emotion of the beautiful words. He tells the story of two siblings – Abdullah and Pari and of course of Afghanistan. 1952 – Afghanistan is poor but beautiful and devoid of any gunfire. In Kabul they are separated. Pari is bought by a childless couple Nila and Suleiman Wahdati. In the due course there are many characters each with touching story of their struggles and their aspirations. Each time you read the words you feel an unending desire to be a part of them, to be their family, to share their joys and sorrows and to be with them forever. Nila, Suleiman, Parwana, Saboor, Nabi, Masooma, Eric, Markos, Roshi and others soon become a part of you. Familial love resonates through you. You already know the secret – what’s going to happen next still you find yourself turning the 385 pages till you reach the end. Abdullah and Pari reconcile in the end but the element of sadness drapes the scene – he is suffering from Alzheimer’s and cannot remember his own sister whom he loved dearly and was his only reason to live with his stern father and a precocious step mother.
Khaled Hosseini is a genius in human relations. With each sentence you find an echo in your own life. This book is not meant for those who want suspense or thrillers but for those who really want to know the answer to the question – ‘After achieving so much in life, there is still some missing part. ’The characters are sketched with love and nourished with hope each giving a glimpse of the answer you are searching. The Old Afghanistan revokes the nostalgia and its happiness.