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501 of 518 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Incredible Novel
This has probably been my most anticipated new release for a very long time. Like many people, I was totally awestruck by Hosseini's first novel The Kite Runner. His second; A Thousand Splendid Suns is up there in my Top Five Books, I was astounded by the story. Bearing this in mind, and despite my delight at acquiring a pre-publication copy of And The Mountains...
Published 18 months ago by Lincs Reader

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sounded like 100 short stories with random characters
It was really confusing and disjointed set of stories. Many small stories came and went and I was expecting them to link up somehow in the end but it didnt. Huge disappointment I would say. It looks like I was reading 100 short stories with no proper beginning or end. The characters were many, random and unrelated to actual story... the main story also just suddenly went...
Published 8 months ago by ragraw


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501 of 518 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Incredible Novel, 25 Mar 2013
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Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This has probably been my most anticipated new release for a very long time. Like many people, I was totally awestruck by Hosseini's first novel The Kite Runner. His second; A Thousand Splendid Suns is up there in my Top Five Books, I was astounded by the story. Bearing this in mind, and despite my delight at acquiring a pre-publication copy of And The Mountains Echoed, I was a little nervous that I may be a little disappointed.

Khaled Hosseini's fans do have to wait a long time between books, its been five years since A Thousand Splendid Suns. I can truthfully say that this is certainly worth that very very long wait.

This is a story that spans generations, yet starts and finishes with the same characters. In 1952 a father and his two young children are travelling across Afghanistan, father has been promised some much needed work. The children; Abdullah and his little sister Pari are happy to be together, they adore each other and Abdullah has become more of a parent than a brother to Pari. When their mother died just after giving birth to Pari and then their father re-married and new half-siblings joined the family, Abdullah took on the protection and care of Pari. Neither of them can know that this journey will be the beginning of heartbreak that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

With heart-breaking realism, Hosseini tells the tale of a family split apart by poverty and desperation. From the small rural villages to the large bustling cities of Afghanistan, the writing transports the reader into the heart of the story, experiencing the sounds, the smells and the changing political landscapes. From immense poverty, to the greatest riches. From the modest and humble, to the arrogant and the proud, the cast of characters are a triumph.

That one event in Kabul in 1952 leads on to many others, including characters and settings from Paris, to the Greek Islands and back to Afghanistan. Characters who appear, on the face of it, to be so different and so diverse are all connected in one way or another to the day that a loving father told his two small children the story of farmer Baba Ayub - it is this story, and its meaning that is threaded through the whole novel and which eventually turns from a fable to the truth.

Whilst And The Mountains Echoed does not have the shock-factor of Hosseini's two previous novels, it is still a very important epic story that will leave a mark on anyone who reads it. The cast of characters is huge and the narrative often slips back and forward, which can at times, appear a little disjointed. However, this really does not detract from the story, or from the wonderfully evocative writing.

Once again, Khaled Hosseini has produced a story that will break hearts and leave his fans, new and old, gasping for more.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown like leaves in the wind..., 3 April 2013
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FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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"A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later."

Within the first few pages of this book, the reader knows s/he's in the hands of a master storyteller. In a village in rural Afghanistan, mid 1940s, a father tells a folk tale to his two young children. On the next day, they will travel to Kabul and start a chain of events that will take the reader on a journey across the world and through the decades.

The novel is made up of a series of linked and interlinked stories about members of this one family, their descendants and people whose lives they touch. Hosseini takes us back and forwards in time but each episode tells a whole story of one of the characters. This made the book feel in some ways like a collection of short stories rather than a novel, but Hosseini brings us round in a perfect circle and the last few chapters bring all these disparate episodes into one immensely moving whole.

The beauty of the writing is only matched by the humanity of the characters. Hosseini takes us inside their minds and their hearts and we see them laid bare, essentially good people but with their flaws and weaknesses exposed, to us and to themselves. Although much of the book takes place in Europe and America, Afghanistan remains at the heart of it because it remains in the hearts of the characters, even though they may have become part of the war- and poverty-driven diaspora.

A beautiful and very moving book that brought me to tears on several occasions, this isn't fundamentally about politics or war; it is about the unforgettable people who populate its pages - about humanity. And though there is sadness and sorrow here, there is also love and joy and a deep sense of hope. Highly recommended.
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155 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand ..., 24 Mar 2013
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Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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Khaled Hosseini's much-anticipated third novel begins with a father and his two children making a journey across Afghanistan, ostensibly so that the father can find work. As they listen to their father's folk tales the children, Abdullah and his beloved little sister Pari, are blissfully unaware of the darker fate which lies in store from them. In some ways Hosseini is treading familiar territory - lives torn apart by the wars in Afghanistan - but in others this is a very different tale, reaching across the twentieth century and focussing on the after-effects of war and the rebuilding of this devastated country.

Abdullah and Pari's story forms the core of the book but we also meet a wide variety of other engaging and fascinating characters. We hear from their uncle Nabi who works for a rich family in Kabul, from Nila, a poetess trapped in a loveless and constraining marriage and Idris and Timur, two brothers whose family fled to the USA when the conflict started and who return many years later to help in the reconstruction of shattered lives and buildings (each with very different motives). There's also Markos, a Greek plastic surgeon who works for a medical charity and Adel, the son of a former warlord who comes to realise that his father is perhaps not the great and benevolent man he thought him to be.

Each character's tale is told in a separate chapter almost as a series of vignettes, but there's a strong inter-linking theme running throughout the book which is the personal tragedy and devastation caused by the successive wars in Afghanistan and the desire to reconstruct the fractured country and fragmented families. Sometimes the characters speak to us in the first person, but other accounts are delivered in the form of a letter or a magazine interview. However they speak to us their voices are clear and compelling.

It's hard to say whether this book will have the same hard-hitting emotional impact as The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Sons; for me it was an educational experience but also a fascinating insight into aspects of life in Afghanistan which don't always make the headlines. It's not remotely dry or depressing though - Khaled Hosseini is such a wonderful storyteller and I was totally absorbed in these people's life stories for the last two days and didn't want the book to end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sounded like 100 short stories with random characters, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: And the Mountains Echoed (Kindle Edition)
It was really confusing and disjointed set of stories. Many small stories came and went and I was expecting them to link up somehow in the end but it didnt. Huge disappointment I would say. It looks like I was reading 100 short stories with no proper beginning or end. The characters were many, random and unrelated to actual story... the main story also just suddenly went 10 steps ahead and the writer didnt bother to fill in intermediate steps. The end of the book was very poor...
I was not at all expecting this after Thousand splendid sun or Kite runner
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70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved the first 400 pages, disappointed with the last 4, 3 Jun 2013
Having absolutely loved both KR and ATSS, I can safely say ATME matches them for drama and delicious writing style.

I commend Hosseini for introducing so many characters and storylines, a risky departure from his previous successes. The problem is that some turn out to be irrelevant.

Spoiler Alert:
There is no doubt however, the ending lacked the emotional power it could have done. Pari and Abdullah meeting after 60 years should have been the pinnacle of the story. Instead, their reunion left me feeling flat and unfulfilled.

Which brings me to the main criticism of an otherwise fantastic read. Although Abdullah was the central character, his story was completely ignored after Chapter 1. We have no idea about the turmoil he went through after being seperated from his sister. Whether he eventually accepted it, or hated his father, or made attempts to find her etc. Instead, Idris, Markos and Adel were granted significant swathes of the book and neither had any significant impact on the Pari / Abdullah storyline.

Too many stories were told. 100 pages could have been cut, or replaced with more depth added to the central characters. The ending should have been told from Abdullah's point of view, to bring the entire story full circle.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Such a disappointment, 22 Dec 2013
I enjoyed The Kite Runner, I LOVED A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I was very excited about this next book. I tried so hard to enjoy it, and it was interesting, but also confusing and didn't seem to have much of a theme or central story. I'm not sure if I just didn't get it, or if it actually is quite a poor book. I did consider re-reading it to try to understand it better but to be honest I just don't want to.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story but doesn't quite live up to expectations, 18 April 2013
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Alexa (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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The story begins with a young boy, Abdullah, travelling with his sister Pari and their father to Kabul. Once they arrive something unimaginable occurs that will change the course of both their lives and echo down through the generations of the family. The story crosses generations and continents and follows the stories of around a dozen different people. Each chapter of the book is written from the perspective of a different character that was affected by the events at the beginning. I have never read a book written like this before and found that it gave the book a certain kind of depth that you don't get from novels written from the perspective of just one or two characters as you discovered the histories and stories of so many different people. At the beginning of each chapter you are not sure how the story relates to what you've already read, or even who the character is, but by the end of each chapter this is revealed leaving you feeling happily satisfied with how everything comes together. I don't want to say too much about the actual story as this is difficult to do without giving away the whole plot.

I would say the main downside of the book is that towards the end Hosseini seems to lose sight of his story a little, and delves too deeply into characters that have little to do with the main story. The beginning of the book was beautiful, and so touching, just as I have come to expect from him, but I did find myself drifting off a bit towards the end. However, despite this, `And the Mountains Echoed' is a beautiful story of love and loss and a must read for Hosseini fans and new comers a like.
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130 of 147 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing, 3 Jun 2013
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Ms. M. Cheung (UK) - See all my reviews
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Expectations were really high for this book, I was so impressed with Hosseini's first two novels that this one was a must-read for me.

The book started promisingly, centred on Abdullah and his sister Pari going on a trip to Kabul with their father. Little did they know that the purpose of the trip was to give Pari to a rich woman as a daughter. So far, so heart-rending.

The story then jumped to the point of view of the step-uncle who arranged for Pari to be given to a new family, and from then on it jumped to the viewpoint of a new character every 30-40 pages. So, we are exposed to the different characters surrounding the story and we get to see why each person does as s/he does.

I found that this method of telling the story quite effective, in that the reader knows much more about the background of each character, but ultimately it detracted from the emotion of the novel and left me feeling nothing for each character. Hosseini excelled in his first two books because they were so moving and the reader was pulled along by the heart-strings, but this new method of writing only lets the reader dip their toes in and as such I felt quite let down.

Overall, still an enjoyable book to read and it kept me turning the pages, but definitely not on the same level as A Thousand Splendid Suns or the Kite Runner - someone who hasn't read Hosseini before would not necessarily be encouraged to read any more if this book was the first one they read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: And the Mountains Echoed (Kindle Edition)
Probably one of the most disappointing books I've read. As a great fan of Khaled Hosseini I was really looking forward to this,The Kite Runner remains one of my favourite books and A Thousand Splendid Suns was a masterpiece.I'm frankly baffled as to what Hosseini was trying to achieve with this story,or rather the way he tells it. The plotline is actually very good,it's just written in such a disjointed and haphazard manner and from the point of view of far too many characters.Often Hosseini seems to feel the need to add bits and pieces to tug at the heartstrings of readers that have little or no relevance to the main story and the whole thing's a bit of a mess and more than a bit confusing.Too often I was thinking,"where is this leading?",only for the answer to be,"nowhere actually".There's a really good story at the core of this book,100 pages taken out and sticking to the 2 main characters stories without all the padding would have worked so much better.Parts of the book are very moving and up to Mr Hosseini's usual standard,sadly it loses it's way very quickly and the good bits don't compensate for the struggle to find them.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely incredible and utterly heartbreaking, 28 May 2013
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I was delighted to hear that Khaled Hosseini had a new book coming out. I loved The Kite Runner and adored A Thousand Splendid Suns (which is one of my all time favourite books) and I never thought, in a million years, he could write a book as beautiful as ATSS but he has, and my goodness what an achievement this is.

I was engrossed from page one. I reached 85% and actually stopped reading as I didn't want this to end; yes it's that good.

I will not go into the details or the story save to say that these wonderful people - namely the very brave Saboor, the incredibly fantastic Nabi, poor Suleiman and Nila, gentle Markos together with Thalia and Odie, but especially Abdullah and Pari - have been a part of my life for the last few days and I am missing them already.

I was crying at 34% so I knew I would be inconsolable by the end and I was right, of course.

It is such a powerful and moving story and it has literally blown me away with the beautiful writing and the heartbreaking story around which the book revolves.

It will long stay in my memory and I cannot recommend this highly enough but, be warned, you will need to have tissues to hand from early on.

10/5
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And the Mountains Echoed
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
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