And the Mountains Echoed Summary and Study Guide
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 32-page guide for “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseine includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 9 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 10 important quotes, discussion questions, and key themes like Stories and Family Ties and Roots.
The third novel by Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed, is a family drama that examines the factors that lead to and reverberate from one action: a poor family sells their youngest daughter to a wealthy couple in Kabul. Set in Afghanistan the novel spans over fifty years and four generations. Hosseini includes several narrative voices, rather than just the story’s main family. The multiple narrators provide several different angles into the grand narrative of the main family, but they also examine their own context and the motives behind their choices in their life. The reader will notice many similarities between the “unconnected” narrators to the main characters – the members of the family part of the grand narrative.
The story begins with Saboor and his two children, Abdullah and Pari, taking a journey to Kabul. Although the children are unaware of the reason of the trip, they willingly follow their father and their Uncle Nabi to the Wahdati household. Abdullah recognizes Mrs. Wahdati who had visited their home earlier. Their Uncle Nabi works for them. Because they are poor, and because Saboor had already lost a son due to the cold of last winter, he is convinced by Nabi that selling Pari to the Wahdati family (who cannot have children of their own) to be the best idea for all of them involved. Saboor’s family will get financial help, will have one less mouth to feed, and the Wahdatis will have a child. However, Abdullah and Pari are incredibly close and their separation is horrific and life changing.
Nila and Suleiman Wahdati have a loveless marriage. Suleiman is secretly in love with Nabi, his servant and Pari’s and Abdullah’s uncle, and Nila is a troubled soul. Despite acquiring Pari into her life, once Suleiman suffers a stroke, Nila feels unhappy and unfulfilled enough to leave him and move to Paris, taking Pari with her. Although we do not learn much about Pari’s upbringing we can sense that Nila withheld a lot of information from Pari and so, Pari feels a large void in her life. She does not know about her real family (her mother, who died during her birth, her father Saboor, and her brother Abdullah) and the nature of her disconnection with her puzzling mother, Nila. Pari eventually marries, has three children and is widowed in her late forties. A phone call from a Mr. Markos in Afghanistan reveals a lot of her past, as he reads her a letter left behind by Nabi, her estranged uncle.
Pari Wahdati arranges a trip to Afghanistan and after seeing her childhood home (the Wahdatis’) remembers several things, but is still plagued with loss. The strong absence she has always felt in her life is the loss of connection with her brother Abdullah. Once she learns of his existence, she searches for him and finds him in the United States.
Her niece, Abdullah’s daughter, also named Pari, picks her up from the airport and brings her to her home where she is taking care of her father who is suffering from dementia. Young Pari, like her Aunt Pari, is suffering from a missing piece in her life as well, absorbed from her father’s loss of his sister. When the two women meet, they feel like their life stories are finally complete and a much deeper understanding of themselves and where they “fit” into place. Unfortunately, both Abdullah and Pari suffer from big gaps in their memory and so their reunion is not as satisfying as the reader may have hoped. Abdullah’s dementia never allows him to recognize his sister, despite longing for her for all of these years. He kept her feather collection hoping he would reunite with her. When Pari receives it, she does not know what it means, because she was so young when they were separated that she does not remember its significance. However, she is content in knowing that Abdullah had been thinking of her all of these years, and now knows that the missing pieces in her life have been fulfilled.