And the Mountains Echoed – A touching story of love and family

Kelly Gildea, Literature Review Editor

Following the interconnected lives of several complex families, Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed is a profound and touching story, set in Afghanistan and the Western US across several decades. The novel primarily revolves around siblings Abdullah and Pari, who are ripped apart when their father sells Pari into adoption by a wealthy family. Their story, along with several others, demonstrates the pain and trials that come with family and love. However, the book also proves the importance of familial bonds and love despite their various hardships.

The book begins with Abdullah’s father telling him and Pari a story about a man who must sacrifice one of his children to save the others. The magical elements of this first chapter, as well as the close bond between Abdullah and Pari draw the reader in from the very first page. From there, different chapters describe a wide variety of characters and their stories, from Abdullah’s stepmom’s struggle with her disabled sister to Pari’s stepuncle’s infatuation with her manipulative mother. 

One of my favorite aspects of the novel is that each character is developed in a unique manner. Time and time again, Hosseini describes impossible situations in which characters must act in their own best interest to survive, no matter the consequences. Hosseini proves that people are not good or bad, they are simply people who do good and bad things. Characters do bad things for the right reasons, make good decisions at the expense of others, and hurt those around them even when trying their best not to. The in-depth and realistic characterization in the novel allows readers to connect to several of the characters and sympathize with their struggles.

The best part of the book is its message of hope. Through connections among its characters, the book utilizes the ripple effect to prove that everyone is interconnected, and that all actions have consequences. One’s good deed, kind words, or acceptance can change the course of someone’s life and help them forge a new, better path. While the book shows that people are not perfect, it also shows that they have the power to change and find love and family. 

Overall, the book was well-written, emotional, and raw. The characters, descriptive settings, and plot of the novel pulled me in immediately, and the various twists and turns throughout kept me engaged and eager to read more. Although some chapters were more interesting than others, the book remained profound and captivating through its entirety. I would recommend this book to those looking for a realistic and emotional read about the importance of family, perseverance, and love.