Published by: Riverhead Books
Published on: May 21, 2013
Page Count: 416
My Reading Format: Both the audiobook version and an ARC provided to me by the publishers for consideration
Audiobook Published by: Penguin Audio
Narrators: Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, and Shohreh Aghdashloo
Audiobook Length: 13 hours
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publisher:
An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
I read The Kite Runner in 2007. It’s been one of my favorite reads since I began blogging. When I was offered the opportunity to receive an advance copy of And The Mountains Echoed I was thrilled. Then I also received a surprise copy of the audiobook. I was in book heaven. For the first time, I read both the print and the audiobook versions of a book together. Normally I prefer to stick with one format or the other, but I so loved the book from the first pages that I didn’t want to stop reading it when I got in the car. I finished the book in two days because I simply couldn’t stop myself from reading this book. And The Mountains Echoed begins with the stories of Abdullah and Pari, a brother and sister growing up in an impoverished village in Afghanistan and continues on throughout their lives, but not necessarily through their eyes. Each chapter, which would all work very well as stand alone stories, builds upon the defining event in Abdullah’s childhood, providing snatches of what happened to the brother and sister over the course of time. While they remain present throughout the novel, there are other characters like Idris who broke my heart. It was an honor to sit with him as he relates his story and his shame.
The audiobook was narrated by three people, Khaled Hosseini, Navid Negahban, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. While they were each competent narrators, Negahban and Aghdashloo’s accents required some adjustment. That I had to listen more carefully to them felt authentic for the most part. There were times when a different narrator would have been appreciated. For example, a character who grew up in France from early childhood would not have a thick Middle Eastern accent. Someone who grew up in the United States would to me have no accent at all. At those times I choose to move to print when I could. That being said, the narrators in no way diminished the impact this book had upon me. I do not believe I would have had a lesser experience if I read it entirely in audio. Had I read the book entirely in print I would be lost for city and name pronunciations. I found that tag teaming this book in print and in audio provided me the best of both worlds.
I read to feed my heart. I read to excite my imagination. I read to feel connected to the greater world. And The Mountains Echoed does all of this and more. It made me homesick for my family, these wonderful people who are tied to me through the haphazard destiny of biology. One day I hope to have the opportunity to meet Khaled Hosseini so that I can thank him for one of the best reading experiences of my lifetime. And The Mountains Echoed is perfectly beautiful. I read because every so often there is a book like And The Mountains Echoed that finds me just where I am.
Thank you very much to Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead Books, and Penguin Audio for making reading year.
And The Mountains Echoed will be available tomorrow (5.21.2013). You can pick up a copy online from any of the following sites: