As difficult as it was, I had to part with many of my books when I graduated. There was no way I could take them all home and so I had to do some serious triage and decide which ones I could live without. I brought a giant bag of books to the used book store in Northfield to see which ones they would buy and which they would help me donate. At the end of our sad transaction, the man asked me if I wanted 11 dollars in cash or 16 dollars in credit. Like that is even a question.
I had entered the store with a grocery bag full of books and left with one, And The Mountains Echoed. I knew I had to read this book, but school work and the hefty price of a newly released hardcover by a hot shot author had deterred me from purchasing it. A 20% discount and $16 in-store credit quickly dissipated my hesitations.
Only three books have ever made me cry (that I can remember): Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Harry Potter (when Dumbledore died…if you haven’t read it yet/didn’t know that, come on now). Had I not read the majority of Khaled Hosseini’s new book And The Mountains Echoed on planes, I would have cried numerous times. Instead, I blinked away tears and hoped that the people sitting next to me didn’t notice.
This book is a masterpiece, a true work of genius that seamlessly interweaves countless stories to create a multi-generational tale that is heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. I can’t remember the last time I encountered such intricate character and plot development. It also tells the history of Afghanistan, a tragically beautiful and resilient country, from a number of very interesting perspectives. To say that this is a worthwhile read does not do it justice. Check out a few of my favorite excerpts (and some passages from a few others works I’ve read recently) at The Words.