I pre-ordered And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini from Amazon because their price was lower than what I would have paid in-store. I figured my book would arrive on the release date –like it did when we lived in DC- or a few days later. The day before the release (Monday) I got an email saying my book would arrive on Wednesday. Okay, I could wait a day past release to get my book and start reading. When it didn’t arrive with the rest of the mail I tracked it only to discover it wouldn’t arrive until the following Wednesday!
I could not wait another week to dive into what was sure to be literary awesomeness so I went to Target for a second copy I would return once my copy arrived.
I started reading that night. The first chapter stole my heart. Two children are told to go to sleep but they beg for a story. The story that is comes next sets the theme for the rest of the novel; two people, one given what seems like a great opportunity, the other is left with a simple/non-glamorous life. You would think the person with the great opportunity would have a far better life but as Mr. Hosseini shows, that isn’t always the case.
I was talking to Kyle about writing style and how great both Conroy and Hosseini are but in different ways. Pat Conroy’s sentences flow in a way that is both decadent but comfortable. He writes beautifully casual. You don’t need to be proficient in classic literature to enjoy Conroy’s work but it is also anything but simple. He writes like a good key lime pie classic, smooth, tart, sweet, and oh so comforting that comes full circle in the end.
But if Conroy is a key lime pie, Hosseini writes like a rich, decadent, and complex chocolate cake from the corner bakery. His writing, like Conroy’s, is comforting and classic but it is rich in such a way that you don’t want to plow through in one sitting; you want to savor and prolong the experience. There are many different layers –the cake- to Hosseini’s stories, all interconnected by a common theme –the frosting- wrapped in a beautiful package.
Hosseini writes in a way that doesn’t seem pushed or contrived. Characters act like humans with believable emotions making tough decisions. The conversations feel real, not perfect, which makes everything that much more authentic.
But I am sad to say I didn’t love this book. I love the writing, I love the characters, I love the stories but the end did nothing for me. His other two books, everything came together at the end. The inner stories were more interconnected. There were more curves and cliffhangers and right when you thought you had the story figured out, Hosseini would add another element. This story had all that except it all didn’t come together for me tied with a neat little bow. I don’t want to ruin it for others by giving away any details so I will end it (about the ending) here.
I enjoyed every page of this book. I will probably read it again someday because the root of the story is so powerful and thought provoking. It is not my favorite of Khaled Hosseini’s work but it still far exceeds most of the other things I’ve read in my lifetime. I am not disappointed that this book wasn’t all I was hoping it would be but it is important to remember that lightening rarely strikes the same place twice but it has so far for Hosseini with his first two books; the third strike wasn’t too far away though.
To give credit where credit is due, image stolen from www.amazon.com