Title: And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Narrator: Khaled Hosseini; Navid Negahban; Shohreh Aghdashloo
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Audio: 14 hours
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Book Rating: 4/5
Audio Rating: 2/5
And the Mountains Echoed takes its readers from in a small town in Afghanistan to Kabul, Paris, Greece, and California, telling tales of families: the separation of normally inseparable siblings, the strain between mother and child, the way the past affects the present.
I picked this one up expecting a novel, but really it was more a collection of interconnected short stories. Each story features a different main character, but each character is related to the others in some way. I think I liked this better as I couldn’t get bored with any one story.
Hosseini does not shy away from human weakness and does not try to fit things into a black and white right and wrong. His character make questionable decisions, but most of them are just trying to do the best they can. It’s sad and refreshing.
Hosseini is a masterful storyteller and an excellent puller of heartstrings. This one is good, but make sure you have your tissues.
I would urge you to pick up the print version of this one. I really struggled through this audio. This may sound amazingly American-centric of me, but I cannot understand the decision to use heavily-accented narrators for this one. Had Hosseini narrated the entire thing, I would have been much happier. But after the first chapter, Negahban and Aghdashloo take over and it required every ounce of energy my brain had to follow along. The decision is even stranger because not all of the characters are even Afghan – the stories of the Parisians, Americans, and Greeks are still read with these accents – so it’s not even adding to the authenticity. And, to make it worse, the narrators simply read the story. No real attempts to distinguish the voices of characters or add emotion to the (very emotional) stories. While Hosseini’s storytelling is exquisite, I simply can’t recommend this one in audio.