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And the Mountains Echoed

And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini

This is a book of a beautiful tapestry of stories.  This tapestry has interlocking stories, some of which meander away quickly and you wonder if and when we will pick up that part of the story again.  Other parts seemingly have little to do with the overall picture but ultimately provide their important scenes which prove necessary to the whole.


We begin with Abdullah, a ten year old Afghan boy and his three year old sister, Pari, who live in a small poor village.  Pari is the most important person in the world to Abdullah.  Their father takes them to Kabul where he has taken a temporary job with a rich man who employs his brother-in-law.  Pari is taken from them while they are in Kabul, which devastates Abdullah but there is nothing he can do.  Abdullah and his father now exit the stage.


It would seem that we will hear much of Pari's story, but soon she steps out of the picture as well.  We focus now on Nabi, the brother-in-law employed by the rich man, Mr. Wahdati.  This is the story we finally stick with for a while.  We learn much about Nabi including some about his younger years and about his twin sisters, one of whom is Pari's and Abdullah's step-mother.  After we've exhausted the story of Nabi, we take a short detour and are introduced to Markos, a Greek doctor who becomes Nabi's tenant in Kabul during 2002 shortly before the US invasion.  We learn about Markos in his youth, not Markos the doctor.


Finally we return to Pari who is all grown up now.  And Pari's story is longer, more involved and covers many years compared to all the other stories.  But this is who we really want to know about.  We finally get to see what happened to the pretty little 3 year old who was taken from her father and brother.


Looking at this review, the stories sound so random and disconnected.  But they aren't at all.  They are interwoven with stories of love, sacrifice, betrayal and devotion and each is an important part of the whole, including a couple that aren't mentioned here.  It is a masterful weaving of stories that Hosseini achieves