Archive for : October, 2014

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And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – A Review

For anyone who has ever felt like they found a piece of themselves in knowing someone else, this book is for you. And The Mountains Echoed has a father recounting to his children an old folktale. The folktale story helps set the mood for an uplifting novel, but first Khaled Hosseini will bring us through heartbreak and a ton of other emotions.

The bonds of love and family are explored in this story of survival and growing love. The separation of a brother and sister, the love of their father, the need to survive the best they can. The loss and devastation that comes from losing someone you love dearly. Hosseini shows the feelings of the father in this book with such intensity it is difficult to move onto the next page during some points of the story. But you will keep moving, just like the father did, you will keep on exploring what is next.

The separation of a brother and sister is heartfelt and written expertly to help the reader truly feel these emotions. We watch as Abdullah and Pari, a brother and sister who are separated by their father. The father wants what is best for them and lets Pari live with adoptive parents in the hopes that her life will be better. The journey of Pari and her relationship with Abdullah is emotional and poignant.

The narration of the story does sometimes feel like it is disjointed. The merging of the different splinters of the story does not always go smoothly; it is like there is a piece of the story missing in some places. It is also difficult to tell if a character is going to be important to you or not. Sometimes you are paying great attention to the details of a character just to find out that they have no real relationship to the story or Abdullah and Pari.

Overall the writing is beautiful and captivating. The poetic prose is emotional and heartfelt by Hosseini. This book is an epic tale of the love of family, parents, children and siblings. You get to explore these relationships from a different point of view than we are used to seeing. We are in Afghanistan and America throughout this book. We are in the desert and in home, but no matter what, the author is truly placing us in the hearts of the characters so we can see and feel what they feel.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – A Review

Mystery and lies abound in this book by Gillian Flynn, which was recently adapted into a Hollywood film. In Gone Girl, Flynn expertly weaves a story of deceit that we are not really ready for. When the book first introduces us to Nick and Amy Dunne, we are celebrating with them their fifth anniversary. This should be a happy time; this should be a time where we really feel the love between these two characters. But instead of love we feel a sense of distance and perhaps even a sense of absolute disgust with each other, while pretending to be in love. It is an interesting feeling we get from this relationship, like they are both putting on a show to make the other happy but neither is actually happy.

Flynn works magic throughout this book giving us just the right amount of information without giving us all the details. For some writers it is hard to lie to the reader without the reader feeling contempt for being lied to, but Flynn is able to pull this off perfectly. She uses the dead Amy and her journal as a way of giving only one point of view. We can’t be lied to if the character is dead; we have to believe them right?

Nick is of course the subject of much interest when Amy goes missing and many pieces of his life concern us. We want to like him because he is charismatic and appears loving, but as we find out about his contempt for Amy and his mistress it is hard to believe he is not involved in the death of Amy. When you throw in money issues and an increased life insurance policy we are all but resigned to believe that Nick may in fact have murdered his wife.

But the narration we get from Nick makes us feel like he truly has not done this horrible act. Even though he omits important facts and lies outright at times, we have the sense that he is innocent. So who in fact killed Amy? Perhaps one of her stalkers from when she was young and her family wrote books based on her life. Those fans followed her well into her adulthood. Or perhaps someone else from her past is involved in her becoming missing and presumed dead?

Gradually Flynn gives us the pieces of the story that we need in order to solve this mystery. She is stingy with the details and it is hard for us to fully come to the conclusion until we get to the final pages of the book. Flynn does an excellent job in driving the story through mystery and lies without losing us as the reader. We become committed to the characters and even to their lies, we don’t need them to be honest anymore because we like them just the way they are. Flynn excels at delivering an extra ordinary story that truly feels of mystery and intrigue. It is impossible to put the book down without thinking about the characters and wanting to know what happens next.