By Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini, a native of Kabul who came to the United States in 1980, is the author of the best-selling The Kite Runner (**** Sept/Oct 2003) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (**** SELECTION July/Aug 2007), both of which offer perspectives on Afghan life.
THE STORY: In an impoverished Afghan village in the 1950s, Abdullah, 10, dotes on his baby sister, Pari, whom he has cared for since their mother died. But when their desperate father takes them to Kabul, where their uncle works for the wealthy Suleiman and Nila Wahdati, he allows the couple to adopt Pari. Eventually, the bohemian Nila flees the repressive Kabul for Paris, where Pari grows up in privilege, becomes a mathematician, marries, and has three children. Suspecting she may have been adopted, Pari vows to one day return to Afghanistan to discover her origins. Abdullah, meanwhile, ends up in California; his own daughter, named after Pari, dreams of reuniting her father with his sibling. This tale of family and love spans generations and continents, as it weaves together, through multiple perspectives, the siblings' stories and fates with those of a dozen others.
Riverhead. 416 pages. $28.95. ISBN: 9781594631764
Washington Post *****
"Over and over again, he takes complicated characters and roasts them slowly, forcing us to revise our judgments about them and to recognize the good in the bad and vice versa. ... There are a dozen things I still want to say--about the rhyming pairs of characters, the echoing situations, the varied takes on honesty, loneliness, beauty and poverty, the transformation of emotions into physical ailments. Instead, I'll just add this: Send Hosseini up the bestseller list again." MARCELA VALDEZ
Los Angeles Times ****
"Each of the subsequent narratives unfolds from its predecessor, a technique that echoes the classic form of A Thousand and One Nights. Though the novel is realistic in style, often grim in subject matter, the magic of storytelling infuses it with a tough sort of optimism, a faith that if people can't necessarily wrest happiness from a hard world, they can at least achieve understanding." WENDY SMITH
New York Times ****
"Khaled Hosseini's new novel, And the Mountains Echoed, may have the most awkward title in his body of work, but it's his most assured and emotionally gripping story yet, more fluent and ambitious than The Kite Runner (2003), more narratively complex than A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)...