I rarely gush books. Okay, that is a lie. But I could say the number of books that I hold close to my heart are few and they are special. One of such books is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hossieni. You can read my raving review about the book here and when you return I still wouldn’t have done fangirling about the writer. There is something so simple and realistic in his writing that never leaves me unmoved.
I recently listened to an old interview of his a short while ago and I had to revisit some of my favorite passages from his books. I thought I will share some of the quotes I love from And the Mountains Echoed. I think these quotes will make it worthwhile even if I decide to re-read And the Mountains Echoed for the third time. So let us get on with it shall we?
1) he didn’t understand why a wave of something, something like the tail end of a sad dream, always swept through him whenever he heard the jingling, surprising him each time like an unexpected gust of wind. But then it passed, as all things do. It passed.
2) Kabul is … A thousand tragedies per square mile.
3) Parwana feels herself standing on the brink of telling her everything, telling Masooma how wrong she is, how little she knows the sister with whom she shared the womb, how for years now Parwana’s life has been one long unspoken apology. But to what end? Her own relief once again at Masooma’s expense? She bites down the words. She has inflicted enough pain on her sister.
4) A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.
5) She was an extraordinary woman, and I went to bed that night feeling like I was perhaps more than ordinary myself. This was the effect she had on me.
6) I remember that when my parents fought, they did not stop until a clear victor had been declared. It was their way of sealing off unpleasantness, to caulk it with a verdict, keep it from leaking into the normalcy of the next day. Not so with the Wahdatis. Their fights didn’t so much end as dissipate, like a drop of ink in a bowl of water, with a residual taint that lingered.
7) The net effect is that she has made me feel vaguely reprimanded and, what’s more, deserving of it, guilty of wrongs unspoken, offenses I’ve never been formally charged with.
8) a nagging doubt begins to set in. A faint intimation that I have judged Madaline harshly, that we weren’t even that different, she and I. Hadn’t we both yearned for escape, reinvention, new identities? Hadn’t we each, in the end, unmoored ourselves by cutting loose the anchors that weighed us down? I scoff at this, tell myself we are nothing alike, even as I sense that the anger I feel toward her may really be a mask for my envy over her succeeding at it all better than I had.
9) I have waited all my life to hear those words. Is it too late now for this? For us? Have we squandered too much for too long, Mamá and I? Part of me thinks it is better to go on as we have, to act as though we don’t know how ill suited we have been for each other. Less painful that way. Perhaps better than this belated offering. This fragile, trembling little glimpse of how it could have been between us. All it will beget is regret, I tell myself, and what good is regret? It brings back nothing. What we have lost is irretrievable.
10) You’re lucky, Pari. You won’t have to work as hard for men to take you seriously. They’ll pay attention to you. Too much beauty, it corrupts things. She would laugh. Oh, listen to me. I’m not saying I speak from experience. Of course not. It’s merely an observation.
11) You’re saying I’m not beautiful. I’m saying you don’t want to be. Besides, you are pretty, and that is plenty good enough. Je t’assure, ma cherie. It’s better, even.
12) Must have been quite the culture shock, going there.Yes it was. Idris doesn’t say that the real culture shock has been in coming back.
13) I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that.
14) Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.
15) It’s a funny thing, Markos, but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.
16) the creative process as a necessarily thievish undertaking. Dig beneath a beautiful piece of writing, Monsieur Boustouler, and you will find all manner of dishonor. Creating means vandalizing the lives of other people, turning them into unwilling and unwitting participants. You steal their desires, their dreams, pocket their flaws, their suffering. You take what does not belong to you. You do this knowingly.
17) All my life, she gave to me a shovel and said, Fill these holes inside of me, Pari.
18) Perhaps if she had grimaced at him, said something infantile, full of loathing and hate. An eruption of rancor. Perhaps that might have been better. Instead, a clean, diplomatic dismissal. And this note. Don’t worry. You’re not in it. An act of kindness. Perhaps, more accurately, an act of charity. He should be relieved. But it hurts. He feels the blow of it, like an ax to the head.
Are there any authors that have affected you as much? Are there any books that you read for the writing even though you knew how the story goes? Let us talk. I would love some recommendations.