Friday, June 21, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini


And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini
Riverhead, 2013
416 pages
source: purchased

Audiobook
Narrated by Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, Shohreh Aghdashloo
14 hours and 1 minutes
Penguin Audio, 2013
source: review copy from publisher

Publisher's summary:
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.

Favorite Quotes:
"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.127
My rating:



Bottom line:
For fans of Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed  was definitely worth the wait!

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Jill - I think you're going to enjoy it!

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  2. I just finished this on audio a couple of days ago. It didn't sweep me off my feet quite like the other two. It was more subtle. But then again, I didn't feel like Hosseini was intentionally trying to manipulate my tears either, which I appreciated. The story is certainly ambitious and complex, with substantial themes and plot development! I had a little bit of trouble with the narrators, their accents were so strong. But they did add an air of authenticity.

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    1. Sandy - I was having a little trouble with the narrators, too, so that made my switch to print an easy decision. I think A Thousand Splendid Suns is still may favorite, but this was a very ambitious,complex plot and I enjoyed it immensely.

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  3. I must get a copy of the book or audio! I love accented voices since I live in a multicultural city. Are you going to continue to listen to the audio even though you finished the book in print?

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    1. Laura - Whether you read or listen, this is not to be missed. Now that I've finished, I won't go back and listen to the rest of it... I've already moved on to another audio. Check my blog tomorrow for a giveaway.

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  4. I HAVE to read this. I can't wait! I loved his first two books, like everyone else in the world :)

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    1. Jennifer - I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

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  5. I just added this one to my library list. Can't wait!

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    1. Melissa - Hope you love it, too!

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  6. I loved this book as well. I had the same experience as you - I was very excited to see the audiobook arrive in the mail. I listened to the entire audio although I'm only driving into work two days a week during the summer. I also enjoyed the accented narrators and loved, loved, loved the opening fable. I loved Hosseini's other two novels, and thought this one was just as powerful. I'm jealous you got to meet him!

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    1. Laura - That must have been tough only listening two days a week - I wanted to rip though this one. The first chapter was simply spell-binding...don't know when I've listened to anything so wonderful! Definitely as powerful as his first two novels, but I think A Thousand Splendid Suns is still my favorite.

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  7. JoAnn. I just stopped listening too the audio yesterday at chapter 4 also (how weird is that?), as I felt I was missing out. I got the HC as well and will go back to chapter 3 znd continue this weekend.

    Glad u loved it. I also loved the first 2 novels.

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    1. Diane - That IS weird... always thought we had similar taste in books/audiobooks ;-) Hope you enjoy the rest of the novel in print!

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  8. I wasn't bowled over by the audio -- you were wise to switch to print.

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    1. Beth F - I certainly didn't dislike the audio, but I do think this one is better in print.

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  9. I so want to read this one and it has been on my radar for awhile. I have his other two books so I should get to those first!!

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    Replies
    1. Staci - I don't think the order is important, but you have to try this author!

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  10. I feel a bit mean by not being bowled over by this one...it hasn't stuck with me the way The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns have done. Still a very good read.

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    1. Lovely Treez - A Thousand Splendid Suns is still my favorite, but I loved reading this one, too!

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  11. Look at those spinnies on your lake photo! So gorgeous! We had a wonderfully windy day today and it made me miss being on the sailboat but alas we'll wait until the kiddos are older before we pick that hobby up again.

    I had to giggle when you mentioned that Hosseini has a sexy voice. I started to listen to Cutting for Stone and had the same attention issue with the accents. I'm really torn about this one--I keep wanting to pick it up in hardcover since my others are in hardcover but I know it'll probably be quite a while before I would actually read it. So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Trish - There was a regatta last weekend and I couldn't resist a photo or two when they were all headed toward me. I think I would recommend reading over listening to this one, unless you really don't mind the extra attention needed for the heavy accents. Either way, it's another great book from Hosseini!

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