What I love about the narrative of the story is that not only are there only 9 chapters, but there are 9 stories being told from 9 different angles. Each of their lives are so independent from one another, and yet so intertwined that it all fits in so perfectly.
Throughout my journey of reading And The Mountains Echoed, I had a few reflections which I would like to share with you all:
- Often people hide their emotions from others, afraid to express their feelings. This can be dangerous as our feelings may result in anger and hatred towards even those whom we love. The last thing we want is to hurt those close to us. Unfortunately this is what happens between Parwana and her late sister.
- Acting in haste, rushing towards pleasure is not the way to move forward in life. It leads to more pain and complications in our dealings with people both professionally and personally. We are never prepared for what we are going to face, so we need to think of the benefit of others as well as our selves. An extreme on either side is harmful, so we should try to be moderate. This is what the Prophet SAW taught us, to never go to the extreme.
- Sometimes Allah allows us to separate or distance from those whom we love so that we may develop in our own ways. We are never made aware of this. We don’t need to be. All we need to do is trust in our Lord as He is the best of planners and whatever we are granted is always for our good whether we see the good in it or not. Yes, Pari and Abdullah were separated as siblings from such a young age, but this allowed Pari to become a young woman living and pursuing her education and career instead of being wholly dependent on her brother. Although I do not necessarily praise her for her actions or the journey she was encouraged to take by her ‘mother’ Nila Wahdati, she was still able to stand on her two feet whilst experiencing a lifetime of betrayal and deception. Abdullah on the other hand tried to hold onto his traditions and customs as much as possible and became a strong leader for his own family. We hear very little about him for way over 200 pages, but it is comforting to know that he is living well.
- Everyone goes through a period in their life when their self-esteem is low, whether it be low confidence in their physical attributes or in their communication with people. Anxiety kicks in and we want to distance ourselves from people who are not familiar with us as much as possible. Sometimes we are pushed to the side, whilst other times we alienate ourselves. Sometimes we feel that we don’t have control over this. It is just how we have been shaped and how we have shaped ourselves. As Thalia’s time with Markos and his mother Madeline increases, she is able to feel more comfortable around them. However, this is not enough for Madeline. She is sick and tired of people treating Thalia as a foreigner, as though she is another. What Madeline did in demanding respect and acceptance for this girl is something we should all be doing. When we see someone being mistreated or spoken about in an ill-manner, we should be the first people to defend them and their rights. If we are silent, the monsters grow. So we need to speak up with wisdom.
- Towards the end of Chapter 9 we come to realise how Pari (Abdullah’s daughter, not sister) really appreciates the fact that her father encouraged her to learn Farsi at a young age. Had it not been for him, she would have never been able to help her aunt in translating his note. So, even if you dislike doing what your parents tell you to do, have hope and trust that they actually know that there is goodness in what they want for you. We don’t realise this in the here and now of our tantrums and youthful ways of thinking and doing things, but one day we will see the reasoning behind it all.
It took me a long time to read through these chapters as I could only have time to turn pages whilst traveling or if I had a few minutes before going to sleep. It was a lovely read, and I hope that you will have something to take away too.
I would like to point out that I do not necessarily agree with all of the ‘religious’ customs and statements Hosseini highlights throughout this piece of work as there is a strong influence of culture which seems to take precedence over the teachings of Islam. This does not necessarily mean that culture is bad or frowned upon in general, but certain aspects within culture can become a distraction when we are unable distinguish between what falls under our beautiful way of life (Islam) and what does not. I pray that Allah gives us the ability to understand this and live up to our principles. Ameen.
Until next time,