A couple of weeks ago we had another bookclub gathering. This time we discussed “And the mountains echoed”, a book I had been looking forward to reading. It is written by Khaled Hosseini. Read on to find out what I thought about this book… and what the other bookclub members thought!
And the mountains echoed – Summary (no spoilers)
Here’s the summary I could read on ‘Goodreads‘:
‘An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.
In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.
Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.’
And the mountains echoed – My thoughts on this book (no spoilers)
Khaled Hosseini is said to be a true storyteller so I had been looking forward to reading this book from the kick-off of our bookclub! But did this book live up to the expectations??
“And the mountains echoed” contains beautifully written stories which come together in the end. I must admit that I struggled sometimes… I got a bit lost here and there as there are so many characters, sometimes with difficult names and I must admit that I didn’t connect with all characters. There are also many places that are mentioned and the story takes you through several decades so you really have to stay focused whilst reading!
Whilst reading, you also get a bit of a lesson in Afghan history… I must admit that I am not too familiar with the political situation of Afghanistan, but this book made it a tad clearer!
I really liked this book because of the honesty it exudes… it made me cry and laugh, it made me look inside my own heart, it made me think about my own family and it has certainly moved me on several occasions! So yes, this book lived up to the expectations…
And the mountains echoed – The book club (no spoilers)
Here are some of the questions we discussed:
The book links several stories together. Do you think the writer succeeded in this?
Most of us thought the writer succeeded in linking the stories. Some stories we liked more than others. In most stories the link to the main theme of the book was quite clear. Other stories were in our opinions perhaps unnecessary for the overall storyline.
Both in ‘Shadow of the wind’ (which we discussed last time) and in this book, there were several stories that interlinked. Both authors succeeded, but I thought that in both books there were too many twists and changes of time, which makes reading and following the main storyline difficult.
To me, Maeve Binchy is queen of linking stories to one whole… In her novels, all bits and pieces are necessary and the stories flow seamlessly into eachother. When I read a book with interlinked stories, I tend to compare it with Maeve Binchy’s novels and to be honest… I haven’t find an author who masters interlinking as well as her!
Was it a good decision to give Pari up for adoption?
Was it?? Or not?? Who can tell?! You could say yes, as she had a better life… ‘better’ in she had more money and she was able to get education. But of course, if she could have stayed with her family, she would have had a ‘better’ life, as she would have lived with her loved ones…
What are the themes in this book?
There are so many themes in this book… we kept on coming up with new ones : self-sacrifice, love, innocence, jealousy, difference between the eastern and western cultures, family ties, friendship,…
What do you think the title means?
Apparently the title of the book finds its origin in a poem by William Blake (Nurse’s song).
Here’s what writer Khale Hosseini has to say about that:
“Can you tell us a little about the title, And the Mountains Echoed?
The inspiration for it was The Nurse’s Song, a lovely poem by William Blake, in which he ends a verse with the line, “And all the hills echoed.”
“Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed,
And all the hills echoed.”
I changed “hills” to “mountains” partly because of the obvious nature of Afghanistan’s topography, but also because of the pervasive presence of mountains in the book. In fact, the mountains in this book bear sole witness to a couple of key, pivotal events. Just as a mountain would echo back a shout, the fateful acts committed before the mountains too emit an echo. They have a rippling effect, expanding outward, touching lives further and further away. I liked the idea of a decision or an act echoing through both place and time, altering the fates of characters both living and not yet born.” (source: Huffington Post)
Will you read other books from Khaled Hosseini?
‘The kite runner’ is Hosseini’s most famous novel and apparently it is better than ‘And the mountains echoed’. I’ve got many books lined up to read, and I will add ‘The kite runner’ to this list!
And the mountains echoed – Score
Personally I gave this book 8/10. Not my highest score no, even though I liked reading it, but I missed cohesion in the different stories.
The average score of our bookclub was 8,57/10.
Our next read will be “All the light you cannot see” from Anthony Doerr. We will read this at the end of October so in November you can expect a blogpost about it!
This will be the final read of our bookclub this year. In December we will have the ‘kick-off’ from our second year. We will then choose new books to read during 2018. And of course I will tell you all about it!