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This review is from: And the Mountains Echoed (Kindle Edition)
Unlike many other reviewers here, I've not previously read any books by Khaled Hosseini. However, I saw the film based on The Kite Runner and was interested to read this novel.
By the time I finished the book, I wasn't really sure whether or not I could call it a novel. It's more like a set of miscellaneous life stories somehow strung together with a very tenuous/vague link between them. There are many books that span several decades and even centuries and include many characters linked together overtime and, normally, I don't have an issue with this style of writing but this particular novel just doesn't do it well. It starts out with a story of one family gradually introducing another, which was fine but then it starts moving in all sorts of directions to cover lives of those that would normally be extras in a movie in quite a lot of detail but, in the end, without any purpose or link to any of the main characters. The books keeps jumping from one set of characters to the next and, again, with no good link between them. The jumping happens far too often for the reader to feel connected to any story or character within the book.
By the end of the book, I wasn't even sure whether I felt any of the people in the story or stories were main characters and I certainly didn't care about what happens to any of them. I just wanted to get it over with and forget I even started reading it.
The novel very much feels like it was written with the film in mind, i.e. as if the author was imagining how a film based on this so called novel could or would work as a movie and that was his chief preoccupation and concern throughout. I just couldn't get away from the feeling that I was watching some documentary about life of a number of random families in Afghanistan rather than reading a novel. In the end, it was much duller and much more boring than any documentary and it certainly didn't feel like it would make a good movie!
Although I could clearly see the parallel between the beginning of the story and its end, the ending of the book just wasn't satisfactory.
I am giving this 2 stars only because, despite everything, the quality of writing is still quite good. Not the story itself. Just the quality of writing: the choice of words, the way that sentences flow... that type of thing. If it wasn't for this, I'd give this novel 1 star.