Day 585: And the Mountains Echoed

Cover for And the Mountains EchoedMaybe because it doesn’t have as focused a plot, I didn’t like And the Mountains Echoed as much as I have Hosseini’s other books. Still, its characters involved me in their dilemmas.

I don’t think the blurb helps, because it made me think that the novel centers around Abdullah and his younger sister Pari, who are separated early in the novel. It starts with them certainly, but then it goes on to examine a multitude of relationships between other characters—some relatives of Abdullah and Pari, some connected only peripherally.

The novel explores the difficulties of connections between people—loved ones who are separated, people who are displaced, siblings who don’t understand each other, children who feel their parents disapprove of them, and so on. Although each story is interesting on its own, I felt a certain amount of frustration when some of the characters never reappeared again.

Although the ending of the novel is touching, I feel that the plot is too diffuse to be entirely satisfying. Although Jennifer Egan used a similar approach in A Visit from the Goon Squad, the difference is that I came away from that book feeling thrilled at its cleverness rather than frustrated.

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