Thanks to Susan, we have one autographed copy of FALL OF MARIGOLDS to give away! (Details below.)
Thank you, Susan, for joining us at Great New Books and sharing one of your favorite reads with us today!
Author Susan Meissner, on one of her recent favorite books:
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Thanks so much for having me as your guest at Great New Books to talk about my favorite topic, my favorite books!
Just a few months ago, when I first began to read And the Mountains Echoed, Khaled Hosseini’s newest gem, I had to remind myself of what he had said to me as I sat among other eager devotees of his in a packed auditorium in San Diego. This book was not like the other two, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, both of which I devoured. He told us this new book wasn’t a typical story construct with page 1 being the beginning and page 500 being the end of one person’s story. So I should not have been surprised by the episodic feel of And the Mountains Echoed about a brother and his sister, separated by circumstances that cut me to the core.
And I wasn’t surprised exactly, but I was rather a bit disappointed in myself as I read the book because I hadn’t realized how dependent I’d become on traditional storytelling. I had to work a little harder to keep the story alive in my head and heart when I wasn’t reading it. I believe that’s my fault, not the author’s, because true to his other two books, Khaled Hosseini is a master of prose. The ending is nothing short of perfect. I really did love this book. Don’t ask me if I liked it as much as Kite Runner and Suns. I liked it as much, only different.
What I liked best about And The Mountains Echoed was what tripped me up initially, and that is the lack of a singular main protagonist on an obvious chronological pursuit of happiness. This tale is far less linear than your typical novel, but because it was so masterfully done, I loved this aspect of this book. And quotable quotes? They abound in the pages. Like this one: “It’s a funny thing… 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.” And this one: “For courage, there must be something at stake.” And this one: “They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.”
The book has been described as one in which Hosseini “explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.” It has also been described as a book that “expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.”
That’s actually a really great way to describe this book – the story expands steadily but slowly outward. So don’t plant your feet, or snuggle down into a slumber-like pose. Read and reach outward, friends.
To enter the drawing to win the autographed and personalized copy of Susan Meissner’s novel, A FALL OF MARIGOLDS, fill out the form and click Submit below. It’s as simple as that! Entries are open from Wednesday, March 5 until Friday, March 7 at midnight Eastern time.
Great New Books will email the winner on Saturday, March 8. (Entries for the Continental US only, please.) As always, thanks for helping us to spread the word about great books and thank you for joining us!