And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

and the mountainsHosseini now lives in California, but he spent his childhood in Afghanistan.  Over thirty-eight million copies of his earlier novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, have sold throughout the world.

This novel begins in 1952 with the story of three-year-old Pari and her ten-year-old brother, Abdullah.  They live with their father, stepmother, and baby half-brother in a small village in Afghanistan, where their father struggles to support his family.  Their mother died when Pari was an infant.  Abdullah, only a child himself, took over as Pari’s caretaker.  He found great joy in the task, and the children developed a very special bond.

This novel follows their story, and also that of other members of their extended family, until 2010.  From the village, relatives scatter to Kabul, Pakistan, Paris, and California.  They have successes and difficulties, make good and bad choices, separate and reconnect.  Other people, including aid workers coming to Afghanistan from various parts of the world, also become part of the narrative.

I found the book fascinating from beginning to end and think that this powerful, thought-provoking novel might be a good choice for a book club discussion.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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