Siblings haunted by the past

Khaled Hosseini’s new novel, And the Mountains Echoed, may have the most awkward title in his body of work, but it’s his most assured and emotionally gripping story yet, more fluent and ambitious than The Kite Runner (2003), more narratively complex than A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007).

Mountains spans several generations and moves back and forth between Afghanistan and the West. (Mr Hosseini says the title was inspired by William Blake’s poem “Nurse’s Song: Innocence”, which refers to hills echoing with the sound of children’s voices.) It grapples with many of the same themes that crisscross his early novels: the relationship between parents and children, and the ways the past can haunt the present. And it shares a similar penchant for mapping terrain midway between the boldly coloured world of fable and the more shadowy, shaded world of realism.

In The Kite Runner and Suns, this could yield some soapy, melodramatic plot

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