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Inspire Series: ‘And the Mountains Echoed’

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 | 0 comments

As I have gotten older and my school work has slowly taken over my life, I have had less time to read books at my leisure. It is an activity I am trying to make more time for. Out of the books that I have read throughout the years, though, “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini is the one that inspired me the most to become a fiction writer. I remember reading it for the first time, awestruck that so much could be covered and accomplished in one novel.

“And the Mountains Echoed” takes readers on a journey across the world to various countries, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, and the United States. The tale of a young boy and his beloved sister, spanning over half of a century, is relayed. Along the way, readers meet dozens of characters whose lives are each as complex as the next. Every chapter feels like a separate short story, with the focus on a different character. However, these stories blend together beautifully. The chapters answer questions that appeared in previous ones while creating new questions to be answered in later ones. The novel is concise, even though it has numerous characters and takes place in various locations. While it would seem likely that readers could be easily confused, Hosseini’s clarity prevents that from ever happening.

Hosseini is a natural-born storyteller. While many I have spoken to say his first novel was his most depressing, “And the Mountains Echoed” leaves readers with a bittersweet feeling that can almost seem more devastating. The ending is set in circumstances that readers root for, but there is an unforeseen twist. This makes it difficult to decide whether the end is a happily-ever-after moment for the brother and sister we are introduced to at the beginning of the novel. Regardless of whether it is happy, sad, or a mixture of both, the ending is most definitely satisfying.

I have always been intrigued by personal relationships and its intricacies, even more so after reading Hosseini’s third novel. No matter which character is the focus, complicated relationships are ever-present. Betrayal, love, and sacrifice are all explored within the bonds of family. The choices of some are endearing, while others are shocking. Hosseini does not just show the actions taken, but also the motivations that lead the characters down a certain path.

This is one novel I continue to read over and over again, enjoying it each time more than the last. I notice new details every time, making it feel as though I am reading the novel for the first time. As a writer, this novel inspires me to think unconventionally and makes me believe that there is no such thing as too big of a world in a work of fiction. “And the Mountains Echoed” was an adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed as a reader and as a writer.

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