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on 29 March 2016
A beautifully written story with a lyrical dream like quality to it, I've really enjoyed the read.

The story begins with two young siblings utterly devoted to each other growing up in an impoverished Afghan village in the 1950s. They have an uncle who works as a chauffeur for a rich family in Kabul, a city which could hardly be different to poverty ridden little village they live in. Worst still the beautiful lady of the house wears short dresses, makeup and goes to the cinema to watch films, shocking stuff. If that wasn't bad enough she also writes erotic poetry....The uncle is deeply in love with her but sadly she is not interested in him, when his car arrives in the village of the children people are fascinated by him, it's the only car they've ever scene. We follow the Uncle right the way up to old age, people begin to disappear from his life, wars happen, followed by gangs which take over the streets, he inherits the mansion of the former owners but is unable to maintain it and it crumbles. Later the Taliban take over before being overthrown by the US. The uncle pens a letter to his English language teacher dated 2002 in which he recounts his long life. It's a life filled with interesting experiences but also tainted by sadness and society is gradually ruined around him.

The novel employs lots of different structures to develop the story, characters talking to each-other, characters talking to themselves, characters being interviewed, characters writing letters, characters looking back at their lives...

The story switches to France in the 1970s, where the beautiful wife from Kabul and the little girl from the village live together as mother and daughter. I loved the way the book captured the mood of the times and the contrast between the two women. The daughter being forced to live under her mother's shadow and self-centered lifestyle. The book plays with the history of the mother. She makes lots of claims about her early life, her daughter is skeptical knowing her better than most. We all have a tendency to miss-remembers or have selective memories though. The lack of clarity is interesting. Was her father an intolerant brute and misgonist or was he a loving father worried about his wild self-destructive daughter?

The story follows different characters at different points, affected by the changes in Afghan and world history, each with a plausible arc. There is a young boy who grows up adoring his well respected village elder father, who in his eyes is something of legend, a war hero and a blessing to his people. The boy wants for nothing, although his family must employ bodyguards to protect them from "the wrong kind of people." His young mother lives a simple shallow kind of life, enjoying the money, modern luxuriates and devoting herself to endless fitness sessions in front of the TV. An encounter with another boy in the area changes the sons view of the world though, and he comes to realise his father is more like a mafia Godfather than a hero. There's no firm easy resolution to all the characters' problems in these stories, the best you can say is that the arrive at a better understanding of the world and are able to accommodate this.

One critique I'd make of the writing is a lot of the characters seem to have slightly unrealistic professions, a lot of them seem to be a doctor or an artist or a poet or a mathematician or an actress or a restaurant owner, the later seemingly a bit more plausible than most of the others. To be fair to the author though all these people still lead very complex & sometimes rather unsatisfying lives.
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on 28 July 2017
And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini)

From the 1950s to the present day, and ranging from war-torn Afghanistan to France, to Greece, to America, this remarkable saga embraces several families, their lives interwoven by many invisible threads of fate.

The tale is told by means of frequent flashbacks, but minus the clear date or place references that usually simplify the reader’s task when this device is used, and it did sometimes take me a few moments to realise of whom and of where I was reading. Apart from this minor irritation, it’s an excellent read. I found it often heartrending, sometimes delighting, but always riveting.
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on 24 October 2017
I tried reading this book 3 times before I could get going. It’s a long story over decades but too long and drawn out. Felt it wasn’t necessary to the story. May be it was just me but I really persevered as his previous books were brilliant. It didn’t meet my expectations but I’m not an avid reader. Please don’t take my review as your decision to read this. I’m sure there are many more positive reviews which give a different insight to the story. A bit disappointed overall.
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on 6 October 2017
So disappointed with this book. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were two of the the finest books I have had the pleasure of reading but not this one. The book starts well but it is so disjointed its hard to follow, there is no flow, it jumps around too much, I had no idea who some of the charcaters introduced were. I became bored and gave up in the end which is a shame. I hope Mr Hosseini returns to form and I look forward to his next novel
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on 2 August 2013
I enjoyed reading this, the third book of Khaled Hosseini's I have read, but to be honest I preferred The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. However, I do love Hosseini's writing style.
I think The Kite Runner is a faster, more colourful tale and gave me an introduction to life in the Middle East while A Thousand Splendid Suns gave a deeper insight into the lives, particularly of Moslem women in Afghanistan. To me And the Mountains Echoed loses something of the uniqueness of the other two books.
Nevertheless, I shall look out for more of Hosseini's writing and will, no doubt, enjoy reading his work in the future.
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on 28 August 2017
Another fantastic read by an author who writes in such a way that you (the reader) lives the emotions that the characters are experiencing. You gain an amazing insight into the life in Afganistan for both the humble farmer in the countryside and the wealthy families in Kabul pre war and then again, once the wars are over. The stories of the lead characters are beautifully told as they are ripped from each other as children, how they grow as individuals, where they are dealt such different lives, to the possibility of them being reunited once more. A great read.
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on 15 September 2017
I love both A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner but for me this was very disappointing. There is no flow to the story and there are too many characters and storylines going on and I found myself backtracking a lot to figure out which storyline a certain character was relating to. Although some of the storylines in it are very good and gripping, just the sheer volume of them completely takes away from it. Wouldn't recommend.
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on 3 February 2014
I was really looking forward to reading this book, having been enthralled by Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and having shared the books and enthusiastic discussions about them with people of various nationalities. Consequently I waited till the hardback was available on Amazon at half the price of my local bookstore. Beautiful cover but disappointing read. Difficult to see where the plot was going, though somehow the reader will just about realise what Hosseini is trying to get across.
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on 12 March 2017
Another insight into ordinary lives in Afghanistan, their loves, struggles and strength of character. Reflections on difficult decisions taken and their everlasting effects. Different voices for different views. Beautiful prose.
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on 26 July 2017
Fantastic story as ever from Khaled Husseini, it is impossible for us in the west to imagine the hard life for women in Afghanistan
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