I loved Khaled Hosseini's novels' A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner. So picking up his newest novel And The Mountains Echoed was a bit of a no brainer. But my dad and my sister had already read it and were slightly disappointed. "It jumps around too much", was my English teacher father's comment.
This is indeed a novel that every few chapters jumps from one character , time and place to another with can make it feel a little disjointed. Sometimes you leave a character as you are just beginning to really care what happens to them. But all the stories do marry up into a conclusion. Perhaps not a whole satisfying one but a resolution non the less.
We start with the story of a poor family living in Afghanistan. The father is faced with a terrible choice, one that will have consequences that will echo down the generations. He can keep his family together or we can give up a child to be better richer lifestyle. Was it the right decision or one that has damages that outweigh the good? As the novel progresses and you follow the lives of the family members and their children in turn it is very hard to answer. Is money and safety better than family love? Other stories are woven in. A doctor who befriends a child who has suffered a disfiguring accident, a warlord's child and a chauffeur who gives his life up to care for his master. All people who make moral choices and then live through their lives wondering if they have done the right thing. The story takes us from Afghanistan, to Paris, to the US.
And the Mountains Echoed is not as memorable as Hosseini's other novels, it didn't make me cry, it didn't move me particularly but it's still a good and thought provoking read. I give it a 6.5/10.