Sunday, July 28, 2013

And the Mountains Echoed

This novel is a series of interconnected personal stories that are linked by common threads of history and family, but spread across generations and continents.

Afghanistan is the place of origin but borders expand to San Francisco and Paris. The hardship of a war-torn country is portrayed, along with the impact of poverty, ignorance, and cultural bias. Yet despite the heavy subject matter, I feel more enlightened than burdened by reading And the Mountains Echoed. Without question, this deserves a Pulitzer Prize and I hope to see it nominated in 2014.

Hosseini has great compassion and empathy for these characters, and the depth of feeling opened better understanding of new worlds for me.

When I followed up my reading of the book with a little research about his creative process, it came as no surprise that his literary ambition aligns with a spiritual mission, a quest to connect readers with lives lived.
What has happened in Afghanistan has an impact on the lives of my characters, and so, in part at least, the writing of my novels has necessitated the writing of recent Afghan history as well, or at least enough of it to provide a credible world for my characters to inhabit. I lay no claim, it should be clear, to being a historian. So in my books, the intimate and personal have been intertwined inextricably with the broad and historical... You do not need to be Afghan, or even know anything about Afghanistan, to connect with the stories. They are basically about the choices we make in life and the consequences of those choices. These are experiences that all of us have had at some point, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture. My hope, as a writer, is that readers will connect with my characters and perhaps see something of themselves in them, something about how they understand life reflected on the pages. Of course, I will be extremely honored if readers step away from And the Mountains Echoed not only with a satisfying story, but also with a little more insight and a more personal sense of what has happened in Afghanistan in the last thirty years.
My books are love stories at core, really. But I am interested in manifestations of love beyond the traditional romantic notion. In fact, I seem not particularly inclined to write romantic love as a narrative motive or as an easy source of happiness for my characters. I am more interested in love that blooms in the most unexpected places, between people who don't really see it coming -the co-wives in A Thousand Splendid Suns, for instance, or between Nabi, the chauffeur in And the Mountains Echoed, and his employer. My characters search love and human connection, and in that process face the limitations of their own hearts and see their own vulnerabilities exposed. It is the overcoming of these obstacles, in the name of love, that leads to those acts of self-sacrifice and altruism that speak so deeply to me and represent what is best in man. 
.... Read the full interview with the Huffington Post,

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