And the Mountains Echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini
Hardcover: 404 pages
Publisher: Riverhead, 2013

After waiting for five years, finally Khaled Hosseini released his latest novel And the Mountains Echoed. Since I love his first two novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I really have high expectation toward this new book.

As usual Hosseini still writes about Afghan people. This is a story about a family who lives in a poor Afghan village in 1952. It begins with a father tells a story to his two children, Abdullah and Pari about a giant who likes to take children in the village. A touching yet tragic story. It turns out that father is actually  telling a true story since at that time due to his hard condition, he intends to sell his daughter, Pari to a wealthy merchant in Kabul. Abdullah and Pari are always together. This separation really breaks their heart, especially Abdullah who is already big enough to understand what is going on there. 

The first 50 pages of the book is quite engaging. But on the way to reunion of Abdullah and Pari, Hosseini gathers up many characters and situations. We will go around the globe - from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco even to the Greek island of Tinos. It's just too many characters introduced without connecting them in a meaningful way. The story kept jumping back and forth from past to present and the people are not tied together.

Unlike the other two novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which had focus on characters and developed them in details, this book doesn't centre around regional conflicts. The current work burdens itself with creation of unnecessary characters. Hosseini tells us stories of individuals who are going through real life journeys. Many irrelevant characters just thrown in and discussed for a while and then dropped while the story of Abdullah and Pari is not enough explored.

Never though that Hosseini's work could bring such disappointment. But it just happens. Perhaps I have too high expectation since his other two works are awesome.