Book Club: And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. His new novel “And the Mountains Echoed” is about love, betrayal and how families take care of one another. It explores how the choices we make can have an impact across generations.
Hosseini explores the many ways in which families protect and make sacrifices for each other, and yet at other times selfishly hurt and betray. He reveals how we are often surprised by the actions of those closest to us in the times when we need them most. He is an amazing storyteller, weaving together the lives of complex characters as they travel from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco and the Greek islands.
The story starts in 1952, with the introduction of Kaboor, a poor labourer, who, after the death of his wife, has to make a difficult decision about his daughter. His actions put into motion a complex set of circumstances that force us to reflect on the universal truths of family loss and personal strength. The book describes the ripples created through the eyes of many different family members.
The Library Journal review says “Each character tells his or her version of the same story of selfishness and selflessness, acceptance and forgiveness, but most important, of love in all its complex iterations.
For me, the heart of this story was watching a loving family react under pressure. It captures how each person sees their own life in both a selfish and generous way. I think of women in the Sixty and Me community who have been impacted by relationships where trust was betrayed in the most hurtful ways. This story puts our own lives into perspective.
Hosseini’s decision to tell the story from the viewpoint of several characters, allows us to see that, at any given moment, everyone is doing the best they can. The lens each person uses is not always easy to understand and the impact of their choices is not always clear until years later.
If you don’t already have a copy of “And the Mountains Echoed,” you can get it on Amazon.
To kick things off, here are a few questions. Please add your thoughts in the comments:
Which character did you relate most to in the book and why?
Do you think that the daughter would have had a happier life if she had stayed with her birth family?
The story talks about tough choices. What do you think the author is saying about the nature of the decisions we make in our lives and the ways they affect others?
Is it enough to have good intentions? Do you think any positive actions in the book came from selfish motivations? How do you define a good person?
Many of the characters in the book face major decisions. Do you think they regret things they have done?
Think about your own experiences. In what ways do you use stories to explain your own past?
Why do you think the author used so many different settings and nationalities in the book? Were there universal characteristics and qualities?
I hope that you enjoy this book! Please share your thoughts below.