Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed

Sunday, April 24, 2016 Sania Tahir 0 Comments Category :

By Hareem Farooq, First Year

‘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.’
From Kabul to Paris, from San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos, Khaled Hosseini’s third novel is nothing less than a roller coaster ride across the globe- a topsy turvy one indeed.
“Kabul is... a thousand tragedies per square mile.”
The novel opens in Kabul, unveiling the life of two siblings, Abdullah and Pari. While the souls of the two remain eternally connected, the bitter realities of their lives make their physical parting inevitable. The grains of sand continue to trickle down the hour glass, as both live their own lives, unaware of each other’s whereabouts and even their reunion cannot fill the cavernous hole of their life. The message that ‘time leaves scars that are impossible to heal’ is embedded with such pragmatism that leaves the readers awestruck.
“Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”
Not all of us are made for the society we live in and sometimes the clash of societal preferences and personal priorities can be nerve wracking. The author sheds light on the concept as he unfolds the lives of Nila and Mr.Wahadati. Nila, a woman who is too liberal, in terms of her lifestyle, feels suffocated by the conservative society around her and finds an escape from all the restrictions by fleeing abroad. Mr.Wahadati, on the contrary, develops infatuation towards his servant, Nabi, yet buries his desires for the sake of society. Different people have different approaches to a life they find anomalous- some adapt, others disregard.
“I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.”
Thalia’s story provides an insight into the verity that life may not always turn out the way we expect it to. The unanticipated mishap of being brutally bitten by a dog, resulting in a disfigured face, becomes the biggest reality of the girl’s life who spends her life concealed behind a veil. Yet, confronting the odds that life brings your way and moulding yourself accordingly is the key to survival and to the happiest life ‘possible’.
“It's a funny thing... but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want.”
Whilst memory is sometimes a blessing that allows you to revive past moments that you cherish and hold on to for dear life, the author reveals a darker side of it. Memory is that curse that makes you relive all the pain you’ve felt, stumble repeatedly through all your struggles and live through the sorrows over and over again. Oblivion is not always a menace, sometimes it is the bliss that makes us strong enough to face the challenges of life that come our way. The stories of all the characters impart a tinge of this grave truth.
At any one place, at any particular time, there cannot be just one story; countless tales delicately intertwined into one another, with different alphas and omegas, and varying ups and downs. This sums up the crux of Khalid Hosseini’s thought provoking bestseller, ‘And the Mountains Echoed’.