And The Mountains Echoed

By Hailey Abdilla

Warning: This article discusses spoilers about the novel, And the Mountains Echoed. 

Heart-wrenching, hopeful, and moving – Khaled Hosseini’s novel And the Mountains Echoed delves into the lives of the privileged and the underprivileged, and explores the effects that war and familial ties has on people’s lives. Despite Hosseini’s brilliant prose and interesting storyline, the novel lacks a concrete ending, and leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions. Hosseini introduces us to two cousins in the beginning of the novel named Idris and Timur. We circle back to these two characters later on and learn that they are now living in America. Idris is a doctor while Timur owns a car dealership. Idris meets a young girl in Afghanistan and vows to help her, however, we learn later in the novel that Timur saves her instead of Idris. This is the last we hear of Idris and Timur, leaving an open-ended hole in the plot and a lot of questions surrounding the cousins’ story that Hosseini never returns to. 

Despite Hosseini’s lack of a straight-forward end to some of the characters’ storylines, I really appreciated the unpredictability of the novel. Books become predictable when the reader is always expecting a happy ending, Hosseini provides a predictable ending in a sense, but it lacks the happy full-circle moment readers hope for. The novel begins with a different storyline separate from the cousins about two siblings, Abdullah and Pari, being separated from each other, leading most readers to assume the novel will end with the moment of them reuniting. While the novel does end in a physical reunion, it lacks the emotional reunion that I think most readers expected. Despite Pari’s eventual reconciliation with her brother Abdullah, we learn that he has alzheimers, and has zero recollection of his sister, allowing Hosseini to leave yet another character’s storyline open-ended.