And The Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini, the author of And The Mountains Echoed, will someday show up to his old neighborhood in Kabul where he was born 47 years ago and will tell the elders that he’s sold 38 million copies of his two first novels, they probably won’t believe him.
But that figure, as awesome as it is real, has already placed him in the same league as the great international best sellers, and he can sell more if the public confirms the good critiques that are flowing about his new work.
According to The New York Times this book is the best and most complex of the few he has created, after the Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns. Their readers began to react to the new title last Tuesday with queues of up to five hours in the Barnes & Noble at Union Square – the largest in the city – to have a copy signed by the author and hear him speak of his work live.
When Hosseini left medicine to devote himself to literature, he never thought that he would ever be treated like a Hollywood star, but today, he is surrounded by an entourage of international agents and editors. On Tuesday he shared with his readers a conversation about his new novel, a shocking story of people marked by loss and devastation, which he echoes around the world.
The story is of two brothers, Abdullah and Pari, separated by life very early on, but constantly united in the bond of that heavy absence. They are the protagonists of a complex story with constant jumps in time, where the author’s language splashes emotion, complaints and comprehension.
The title Hosseini chose is a tribute to a poem by William Blake, where he refers to hills, but which the author changed to mountains, which are so present in the landscape of Afghanistan and in the characters.
Of his whole family, Khaled is the only one who has returned to Kabul. Not to live (he lives in northern California) but to assist fellow refugees and returnees with a humanitarian aid foundation. Perhaps a leftover from a vocation in medicine, he says, with which had a somewhat traumatic relationship, but roots, none the less, with which he feels perpetually in debt.
There is hardly an author who has been able to get closer to the contemporary drama of Afghanistan, between the Soviet invasion, the reign of the Taliban and the American occupation, with the global impact that Hosseini’s narration has had. In And The Mountains Echoed the author goes back to his origins. He tells the stories of the Afghan people with a great deal of respect. He says that he feels at home as soon as the aircraft touches the ground, but that walking around the city he perceives differences.