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And The Mountains Echoed

Hosseini knows exactly where a person’s heart is, and he knows how to rip it apart. And And The Mountains Echoed left me a total mess.

I tend to cry about a lot. A lot of things do it for me, like cracking knuckles, not getting enough sleep, seeing someone I love unhappy, and Youtube videos of dogs seeing their owners come home from the military. Whatever. It doesn’t belittle the fact that this book is heartbreaking and touching on a universal level. It’s enough to make Nick Offerman crawl into fetal position. 

you get the point.

you get the point.

It starts with a fairy tale about a poor man who encounters the embodiment of Satan after it kidnaps his favorite son. The man finds his little boy living a beautiful, happy life in paradise, and he’s given the choice of letting his son grow up without him, knowing that the boy will never want for anything, or take him home and struggle to feed the boy, let alone buy him that Lexus he’s probably going to ask for once he hits sixteen. At this point, I’m already crying, and this theme of sacrifice, of loving someone so much that it hurts yourself, plays out over and over again in the stories that make up the rest of the book. Each chapter is a subplot of the characters orbiting around the relationship of Abdullah and Pari, a brother and sister that love each other to bits and that get separated (again, more crying). 

The strangest thing for me as I was reading the book was how much of it spoke to my own life. 

Hosseini writes a bit about survivors guilt, as experienced by two young men that move to California before the war in Afghanistan began. Hosseini has given a name and a thousand perfect words to the thing that’s been eating at me since the revolution in Egypt a few years ago. The two boys go back to Kabul and decide to make a dramatic documentary to bring back to America, so that “people can understand,” and so that “they can make a difference,” but most of all so that they can sleep in a suburban house with the windows open, drive a nice car, and take cute girls on dates without having to question every day what they did to deserve a life so much luckier and more hopeful than that of the people they love. In the process though, they alienate themselves from the Afghans that (shocker) don’t want to star in a Hollywood documentary or become the poster child for “those poor people on that side of the world” and just want to reconstruct the pieces of their life that the war tore apart. 

Not to mention that when I say the boys live in California, I mean the Bay Area. Specifically, San Jose. Specifically, in a street fifteen minutes away from my house. As in, one of these fictional boys goes to a Gold’s Gym that I drive past every so often. And Abdullah, the main character of the novel, owns a “fictional” kabob store that’s actually 20 minutes into San Jose. I thought I was going crazy when I was reading, but it turns out Khaled Hosseini, my favorite author of all time, lives a tiny ways away from me in San Jose. I might have taken his order at Sandwich Spot (which would be so much easier to notice if people actually gave me their real names. We live in Cupertino, y’all. I knew how to spell Kshitij before I knew what “Walmart” was. You can’t all be really named Steve.)

 

Anyway, this book is up there in my top five favorite books (you’re still there, Junie B. Jones), and I recommend it to anyone looking to mess up their mascara. 

 

5/5 stars 

 

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Cage the Irrelevant

(copied from a really nice notebook i bought a week ago)

 

well you can’t write things that mean without paper right so is it really my fault if all we have is lined paper and printer paper and notebooks all over the house and other useless canvasses so naturally i need to go to marshall’s and get a journal and it has to be a really inspiring one too not one i’ll be embarrassed to carry outside when i’m out every day furiously scribbling my limitless ideas and theories and stories so it’s a good thing this one with a worldly cover is a dollar more than all the other ones so that i’m more motivated to write and not leave my 5 dollar investment to die alongisde my knitting needles and alto sax but see now i’m so pumped about this notebook and my new up and coming life that i can’t be honest with myself and write substantial stuff so how about instead i’ll make a list of cute girl names to name my baby in a few years god damn i’m so prepared for my future life that there’s gonna be no way i’ll feel as lost and hopeless as i do now 

 

Matilda

 

well shit all i can come up with is matilda maybe i should consult the list of cute girl names i came up with the other day when i got stuck trying to write something meaningful or maybe just maybe i can for more than three seconds entertain the idea of writing something a little more profound instead of giving up and trying to beat 2048 for the ninth time this half hour i don’t think i’ve moved from this part of the bed for the past three hours how am i supposed to be inspired in a place like this for god’s sakes i need to surround myself with movement and intellectuals so i’m gonna head over to starbucks next to panda express

and god all there is here is a girl calling her boyfriend beb and ordering a drink that sounds more like a recipe for a spaceship than one of a latte but who am i to judge i can’t even write one thing that could change the world and knock people off their feet so it’s time to stop dillydallying and just check facebook one last time to see what everyone and their mother is up to because this constant lifestyle of writing that i’m about to start will keep me busy for weeks and i won’t be able to contact anyone on account of how hard i’m working and yes i might lose some friends and loved ones in the process but that’s the price you pay for drafting the New World Order

but i can’t write that because i already know it’s not good enough and if i can’t get it perfect in my first time then i’ll know for sure that i’m not good at writing so i’ll just drop this whole thing now because you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take but you also don’t screw any of them up now do ya buddy

i feel like that king in that story that everyone looked up to as the wise man of the kingdom and one day he took that vow of silence and everyone was like wow how edgy and cool and indicative of the edgy and cool notion that most words are empty and not really worth saying when you really get down to it so the days go by and the king remains true to his (unspoken) word and the people remain waiting anxiously for the wisdom the king is sure to drop when he decides to end his silence but see the problem in this scenario is every passing moment is another measure of purpose the king must justify the long wait and after a while you realize that there is nothing in this world you can make that would fill the enormous silent hole you dug yourself in

and worst of all is that i don’t have any people or wisdom and most of all no throne because my kingdom is just a bunch of demons plotting to lock me up from the inside out