Tag Archives: family

#27 And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

3 Jan
atmeAnd The Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini

And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

Goodreads rating: 4.02/5 (68K+ ratings)

My rating: 7.5/10

First published: 21st May 2013

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama

The third book by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns), And The Mountains Echoed doesn’t disappoint. I had pretty high expectations as A Thousand Splendid Suns (ATSS) is one of my all time favourites, and although I found And The Mountains Echoed less full on than ATSS, it was still very enjoyable. 

Each chapter is almost written like a short story in itself. The overarching story starts with a boy, Abdullah, and his younger, beloved sister Pari who is sold to a rich family in Kabul without him. Each chapter follows the lives of a different character revolved around both of these children including Pari’s adoptive parents, her step uncle, the family next door who move to America, the Greek Doctor who moves into her childhood home during the war in Afghanistan, and a young, rich, oblivious boy. 

I’ve found other books written in a similar format, such as A Tale of Two Citiesreally hard to follow, but Hosseini has a great ability to fill you in on the background of each character, and help you get to know them in just a few pages. He also ties in each story to the overall theme really well and in an engaging way. Another thing I love not only about this book but Hosseini’s other novels, is his description of Afghanistan. In this story he describes pre-war Afghanistan and it sounds like a beautiful country – it’s a way i’ve never heard Afghanistan described as before, and just for that it’s worth reading.

This story is heartbreaking and touching, and totally worth the read. It’s a pretty quick and easy read, the language is really simple, but I definitely recommend it.

Notable quotes

A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.

All my life, she gave to me a shovel and said, Fill these holes inside of me.

Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.

Creating means vandalizing the lives of other people, turning them into unwilling and unwitting participants. You steal their desires, their dreams, pocket their flaws, their suffering. You take what does not belong to you. You do this knowingly.

If an avalanche buries you and you’re lying there underneath all that snow, you can’t tell which way is up or down. You want to dig yourself out but pick the wrong way, and you dig yourself to your own demise.

If culture is a house, then language was the key to the front door; to all the rooms inside. Without it, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity.

It’s a funny thing, but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.

If you’ve read this, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts or reading your reviews so please share any links!

-H-

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#16 Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult

17 Feb
Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult

Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult

Goodreads rating: 3.61/5 (22,100+ ratings)

My rating: 6/10

Why it’s on the list: I have read all Jodi Picoult’s books except for her latest, and Songs of the Humpback Whale. I went through a phase of reading all her books so of course I have to finish all of them!

First Published: February 28th, 2012 by Atria Books

Genre: Drama, Modern Fiction

For avid Picoult readers, the plot will probably be predictable, however a quick rundown – Estranged son Edward Warren has lived in Thailand for 6 years, when he finds out his dad and sister have been injured in a terrible accident back in the US. When he returns home and finds out his father is in a coma which he’s unlikely to recover from, Edward and his sister Cara, who holds a grudge against him, have to decide what is best for their father – whether to keep him hooked up to life support with the likelihood of being brain-dead, or to end the life support.

To add to this, Edward & Cara’s father, Luke, is a famous animal conservationist who became famous after living with a pack of wolves in the wild, and he now runs a wolf conserve.

This story was pretty weak, and I didn’t like the ending. Unlike many of her books, the underlying story was pretty boring, I didn’t really like any of the characters, and there are secrets to be revealed in the book but aren’t really built up to make you want to know what they are.

The only element that saved this book was the information about the wolves. Like most Picoult books, the themes are heavily researched, which is one thing I love about her books. Picoult describes the habits and characteristics of wolves really well, although I feel like she made them out to be much tamer and placid than they probably are in real life!

The chapters that were from Luke’s point of view about living with wolves in the wild were my favourite, I found them interesting and well thought out, as well as really well described – particularly the facts about how a pack works and the different rankings of wolves in a pack.

From reading this article on sheknows.com, Jodi Picoult wants readers to feel three things after reading this novel – Moved, Emotional, Smarter – and I did feel all three after finishing it, so I guess I got what she wanted the reader to get out of it. I mainly felt moved and emotional when thinking of being in the position of the children and having to make life and death decisions about my parents. And of course, as I mentioned, I felt smarter after reading all the wolf facts!

I think it’s worth reading if you’re a Picoult fan, but if not, you should definitely stick to some of her better books such as The Pact or My Sisters Keeper.

Bits & pieces

  • Debuted as Number One New York Times bestseller.
  • Picoult spent time with a man who actually did live with wolves in the wild, Shaun Ellis, for a year. She also met some wolves he had in captivity.
  • Picoult also learnt how to howl like a wolf.
  • When describing Lone Wolf in 140 characters or less, Picoult says – ‘When is it right to end a life? And why is a family like a pack of wolves?’

Sources: Caroline Leavitville blog; Jodi Picoult website; sheknows.com

Quotes

“Like a missing tooth, sometimes an absence is more noticeable than a presence.”

“Me, I was already jaded and tarnished, skeptical that a fantasy world could keep reality at bay.”

“The scariest thing in the world is thinking someone you love is going to die.”

“I used to believe everything my brother told me, because he was older and I figured he knew more about the world. But as it turns out, being a grown-up doesn’t mean you’re fearless. It just means you fear different things.”

-H-

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