Hosseini's third novel is unique from his first two in that it acts as a compilation of interrelated short stories from the perspectives of multiple characters. And the Mountains Echoed was published six years after A Thousand Splendid Suns, and it was so highly anticipated that it made it to Amazon's top ten books before its release. The story revolves around the relationship of young siblings Abdullah and Pari, and their family's struggles to survive by selling Pari to a childless couple so that none of them are left impoverish and starved during the winter. Like Hosseini's other stories, this one focuses on the love of family and the personal hardships people go through in order to make a life from themselves.
Regarding And the Mountains Echoed, Hosseini informed the public that this book has nothing to do with war or the strife in Afghanistan regarding the Taliban. He added: "I hope a day will come when we write about Afghanistan, where we can speak about Afghanistan in a context outside of the wars and the struggles of the last 30 years. In some way I think this book is an attempt to do that."
This latest novel of Hosseini follows his recurring format of a multi-generational story that follows the characters over a period of fifty years. Throughout nine chapters, the book branches out to encompass characters from different times, places, and ages. Although the tale connects itself to its foundation of the two siblings, it gives insight from multiple perspectives and with overlapping plots, and ends up taking on a similar form to that of One Thousand and One Nights. Hosseini says that in the process of making this novel, he had a single vision of a man wheeling a girl along the desert in a red wagon, with a small boy following behind them; this mental picture became the siblings and their father.
The idea for And the Mountains Echoed came from another trip to Afghanistan, in which Hosseini heard from village elders about children dying due to a lack of warmth and food. Fluid yet fragmented, the novel left critics questioning the way it was written, but overall it was the best received book of the three in terms of character design and plot, and the second best-selling next to Hosseini's first novel. Hosseini's choice to focus on siblings, rather than on a parent-child relationship, gave a fresh outlook on how familial troubles affect the young.
"It's hard to do justice to a novel this rich in a short review. There are a dozen things I still want to say- about the rhyming pairs of characters, the echoing situations, the varied takes on honesty, loneliness, beauty and poverty, the transformation of emotions into physical ailments. Instead, I'll just add this: Send Hosseini up the bestseller list again." -Marcela Valdes, The Washington Post
"Painfully sad but also radiant with love." -Wendy Smith, The Los Angeles Times
"Masterful storytelling... a haunting portrayal of war-ravaged Afghanistan and insight into the life of Afghan expatriates." -Fran Hawthorne, The National
"From the moment the realisation dawns that Saboor is going to give Pari to the wife of a wealthy man in Kabul, Hosseini saturates the various layers and characters of his novel with a yearning for the moment that brother and sister will reunite." -Alexander Linklater, The Guardian
"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)." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times