Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini’s newest book, “And the Mountains Echoed,” is emotionally rich and captivating, even if it isn’t too different stylistically from his previous works.
In true Hosseini style, the story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan, and focuses on the loving relationship between siblings Abdullah and Pari. At a young age, Pari is separated from her brother, and the two are forced into disconnected life paths.
It’s difficult not to compare Hosseini’s previous bestsellers, 2003’s “The Kite Runner” and 2007’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” to his newest novel because there are many similarities in the way the story is told. Hosseini uses the same multiple-perspective style as in his previous works; in his most recent, the story is told by Abdullah and Pari. The back-and-forth shift between time periods throughout the characters’ lives is also essential to Hosseini’s distinct style as a storyteller, and while it can be confusing to readers at first, it’s easy to keep up once you’ve jumped in.
While some of the techniques are the same, Hosseini takes us a step further, following all of the characters we gradually meet around the world. Whether it’s Paris, Greece or San Francisco, the readers get a chance to see the different circumstances each of them live under.
In 402 pages, Hosseini skillfully keeps the reader’s attention with an eye for detail and a distinct but careful use of language. He has a way of instilling empathy that is not superficial, cliched or forgotten about after putting the book down. Also, do not expect sunshine and happiness when reading this book, which is also an important warning for any Hosseini novel. Real life and its constant struggles are effectively represented on each page.
As someone who has gained critical acclaim from his first two novels, an author like Hosseini might be hesitant to deviate from the niche and writing style that has worked so well for him in the past. Will he ever write a drastically different novel that will also be successful in the future? Only time will tell. It depends on how he wants to be perceived as a writer.
“And the Mountains Echoed” hits bookstores everywhere May 21.