And The Mountains Echoed

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Talking About And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini with Chrissi

Published June 7, 2014 by bibliobeth

 

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What’s it all about?:

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.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: And the Mountains Echoed begins with Saboor and his children, Abdullah and Pari, and a heartbreaking event which divides them. Discuss the structure of the novel – how effectively are each of the stories linked?
BETH: There are a lot of storylines within this novel which I didn’t realise at first were connected until a character showed up who was the relative or friend of the character in the previous chapter and things would automatically click. I did love that we got to know a bit more about certain characters who had relatively minor roles previously and I thought everything slotted together perfectly. At first, I assumed that I would only be learning about Saboor, Abdullah and Pari and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were a variety of characters to enjoy.
BETH: Which parts of this novel did you find most enjoyable?
CHRISSI: I absolutely loved the story at the beginning. I found it immediately engaging. I have to say one of my favourite elements of this story was the beautiful writing. I find the author has such an amazing way with words that even if I’m not completely loving the story, I’m in love with the way in which it is told.
CHRISSI: What did you make of the different types of media used in And The Mountains Echoed? E.g. the interview transcript and letters.
BETH: I think I could have seen a lot more of these to be honest! I do enjoy any different way of telling a tale and thought the interview transcript and letters was a refreshing and interesting way to tell parts of the story. It also gives the reader a bit more of an insight into a character’s particular way of thinking and/or behaving which can be compelling.
BETH: How did you think the relationships between siblings and between families were explored?
CHRISSI: I thought the relationships between siblings were at the core of this story. It was a very real look at how sibling relationships can bring you much joy, but also a lot of heartbreak. I thought it was an incredibly refreshing take on just how important your siblings are in your life.
CHRISSI: The story begins in Afghanistan, moves from France to Greece, and ends in America. Many of the characters in the book are displaced. Discuss the theme of exile in the novel.
BETH: I think the theme of exile begins right from the very first pages of this novel. Saboor is walking alone through the desert with his two children, Abdullah and Pari and the reader is left feeling slightly unsure about where they are travelling to and why. Separations occur throughout the novel – between siblings, between whole families and even cross over to other countries like France, Greece and America. Situations are not always resolved in a perfect manner, but I think all the whole this novel evokes strong imagery on the importance of family.
BETH: What did you think of the character of Nila and how her life ended up?
CHRISSI: I felt sorry for Nila. It’s hard to describe why without completing spoiling the story. I hated how Nila was treated. Her marriage certainly seemed to me, like it was a marriage for convenience, it was certainly keeping up appearances. I felt resentful of Nila’s father, for being so disapproving of Nila’s talent. Nila expressed her female desire and that was just too controversial for the time and culture she was living in. Nila’s relationship with her own writing is a struggle throughout her life. I was quite satisfied with how Nila’s life ended up, even though I think it had elements of sadness. I think she had an experience that not many Afghan women had available to them.
CHRISSI: I know you’ve read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author, you haven’t yet read The Kite Runner, does your experience reading And The Mountains Echoed make you want to ‘bump’ it?
BETH: Most definitely! I know you loved The Kite Runner and I’ve been making you slightly crazy not having read it yet but I plan to read it very shortly. The author has such a beautiful way with words that reading one of his books feels like a real treat.
BETH: I found this book to be quite an emotional read. How did it feel for you emotion-wise?
CHRISSI: I agree that it was an emotional read. I think the writing plays a huge part in that. It’s incredibly lyrical and touching. I felt a wide range of emotions. I think the author really tugs at your heartstrings!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star Rating (out of 5):

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CHRISSI’s Star Rating (out of 5):

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WWW Wednesday #43

Published May 28, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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This book won the Women’s Prize for fiction last year here in the UK and I can’t believe I’m only getting round to it now. Loving it so far!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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This book was part of a challenge I participate in with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and was our Kid-Lit choice for the month of May. Look out for our reviews coming your way on Sunday!

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Next up is a book I’ve actually had on my TBR pile for ages but am now going to review with Chrissi Reads. It’s also part of the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club here in the UK. I can’t wait to start this one!

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy Reading Everyone!

 

On my radar for 2013…

Published February 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

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Due to be published in 2013, these are a few of the books I’m awaiting with glee:

Never Saw it Coming – Linwood Barclay, 31st January 2013

One of my favourite crime/thriller writers, this new offering is about a young woman who “practices” as a psychic but is more interested in money grabbing from troubled families rather than seeing into the netherworld. However, her latest case involves a woman going missing, and after visiting the frantic husband and telling him about her “vision,” it turns out that it might actually be true (and leave her dead).

The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence, 31st January 2013

Alex Woods knows that he hasn’t had the most conventional start in life.  He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won’t endear him to the local bullies.  He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen – he’s got the scars to prove it. What he doesn’t know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he’ll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing . . . One of the Waterstones Eleven for this year, this author is described as one to watch.

Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes, 14th February 2013

Highly intelligent but socially inept, Colin spends his free time collecting academic qualifications and searching for ways to meet women, until he stumbles upon a new technique that proves both potent and deadly. Police analyst Annabel is shocked when she discovers a decomposing body in the house next door and realises that no one, including herself, noticed her neighbour’s absence. At work she finds data showing that such cases are frighteningly common in her own town and sets out to investigate, convinced she is on trail of a killer. I fell in love with this author after reading her fantastic book Into The Darkest Corner.

Lost Boy – Camilla Lackberg, 14th March 2013

Nathalie jumps in her car and flees with her five year old son, her hands slippery with blood on the steering wheel. Meanwhile, Detective Hedström is investigating the murder of Mats Sverin, a financial director – also the childhood sweetheart of Nathalie. Both have recently returned to the island, and Mats visited her just before his death. The locals call the island “The Ghost Isle,” and that the dead have something to tell the living. But will anyone get close enough to uncover the dark secrets that lurk there?

I recently discovered this brilliant Swedish author after reading The Hidden Child, and am in the process of going through her back catalogue.

The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult, 26th March 2013

Sage Singer befriends an old man, particularly beloved in the community. One day he asks Sage for a favour: to kill him. And then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

Six Years – Harlan Coben, 25th April 2013

Six years have passed since our main character Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, get married to another man, Todd. When Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he cannot keep away from the funeral. At the funeral however, the woman posing as Todd’s wife is not Natalie. This story involves Jake uncovering the truth in his quest to find the woman he once loved.

And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini, 21st May 2013

Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and step-mother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their skulls touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history, and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

By the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns (wonderful) and The Kite Runner (I must get round to that soon!!)

Dr Sleep – Stephen King, 24th September 2013

An epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon. King says he wanted to know what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy at the heart of The Shining, after his terrible experience in the Overlook Hotel. The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals. On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.  Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant ‘shining’ power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep.Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival . . .

My all-time favourite author, I cannot wait for this release!