Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

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I danced when I saw the Amazon box; rarely do I buy hardcover (hurts too much when they fall over if I fall asleep reading, too bulky to carry on planes) but this one I was on the waiting list for, mail it as soon as it is published! Khaled Housseini, author of Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns has a new runaway best-seller; thanks to him I’ve just spent three days in Afghanistan, Paris and Los Angeles.

As the book opens, I am big brother to a baby sister whose Mom died in childbirth, living in a remote village in Afghanistan. Life is tough, but through the eyes of these children, life is idyllic, even though food is scarce and winters are cold. We have a huge oak tree with a swing, we play with the other children, and we have each other. Our father’s new wife is kind enough, but is busy with her own children, and the drudgery of cooking, cleaning and making do in a very small, poor Afghan village.

Later, I am Pari, living in Paris with an alcoholic, self-absorbed mother, making a life for myself, but always with a nagging feeling of something just outside my peripheral vision, another life . . .

The tale is told through the eyes of many, and on the way to the end of the tale we meet a wide spectrum of humanity, suffer the ills of war, callousness and unintended cruelties. We find that the man with superficial charm also saves and changes the lives of many, we find a doctor who finds fulfillment serving in the poorly resourced hospitals of Afghanistan, and we feel the agonies of a dutiful daughter watching her father fade into the world of Alzheimer’s.

It’s a wonderful, wild ride, richly textured, and when it finishes, you are not ready for it to end.

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June 21, 2013 - Posted by | Adventure, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Circle of Life and Death, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Fiction, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Paris, Political Issues, Relationships |

4 Comments »

  1. Can’t wait to read it! If I can get a copy here in Kuwait. My favourite book by this author was ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’.

    Comment by markingmyspot | June 21, 2013 | Reply

  2. Mine too :-) I love the way he can get inside a woman’s head and make her life real. To me, his females are more vivid than his men. This book, too. But even though I like his two previous books better, this one is still very, very good. Happy reading!

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 22, 2013 | Reply

  3. I was waiting for this novel since I turned the last page of a thousand splendid suns (one of my favorite books ever). The thing with this author is, its a joy reading his words, his little stories within stories, and how almost every line is quotable!

    I loved reading this book. I did NOT like the ending though, or the last 50 pages for that matter, coz thats when I realized that the story was going no where.

    I enjoyed it a lot. a great book, but it ranks 3rd among his 3 books in my opinion.

    Comment by Yousef | June 23, 2013 | Reply

  4. I agree, 3rd out of 3, and yet . . . . still magical. Yousef, I can see that swing in the huge oak tree in the mountain village. I smell the smoke. I think he got inside almost every character’s head and made him or her believable, it’s a great book, but Kite Runner and 1000 Splendid Suns were so so so good that we wait for the next one.

    I’m reading a book now I heard of and didn’t think I would care about, and I am SO into it, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Deals with a young woman who has aged out of the foster care program for unwanted or neglected children, some of the problems with the system, and some of the very real and heartbreaking problems veterans of the system have forming later relationships. I’m so miserable, I feel like crying and I can barely put it down.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 23, 2013 | Reply


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