And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini
Narrated by Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
14 hours and 1 minutes
Penguin Audio, 2013
source: review copy from publisher
Khaled Hosseini, the number-one New York Times best-selling 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 passing minute.
My reading experience:
Khaled Hosseini has done it again! His previous novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, are among my favorites, and I have been eagerly awaiting this latest release since hearing him speak at the Rosamond Gifford Lecture Series a few years ago.
I was thrilled when a review copy from Penguin Audio appeared in my mailbox. The first chapter (narrated by the author) reads like a fable and, in hindsight, can be viewed as the novel's plot in miniature. It literally gave me goosebumps... something that has never happened while listening to an audiobook.
By the second chapter I was totally hooked, and then faced a dilemma as I reached chapter four. The week ahead would allow for minimal driving/listening time, yet I needed to keep reading. So, it was off to the bookstore for a print copy... and 48 hours later, I was done.
My choice to remain vague about the plot is deliberate... you're better off just experiencing this book for yourself. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
A note on the audio production:
The opening chapter/fable read by Hosseini is simply wonderful. He has a lovely voice and a sexy accent. Then Navid Negahban and Shohreh Aghdashloo, team up to read chapters which alternate between male and female voices. Their heavy accents lend an air of authenticity, but require significantly more effort on the part of the listener. There were times when I simply did not understand what they were saying... yet I was so involved in the story, it didn't seem to matter. Again, I only listened to four chapters before switching to print.
"But there was no forgetting. Pari hovered, unbidden, at the edge of Abdullah's vision everywhere he went. She was like the dust that clung to his shirt. She was in the silences that had become so frequent at the house, silences that welled up between their words, sometimes cold and hollow, sometimes pregnant with things that went unsaid, like a cloud filled with rain that never fell." p.48-49
"Parwana kept marching toward her new life. She keeps walking, the darkness around her like a mother's womb, and when it lifts, when she looks up in the dawn haze and catches a band of pale light from the east striking the side if a boulder, it feels like being born." p.72
"They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind." p.127My rating:
For fans of Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed was definitely worth the wait!