Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field | Luce's Eternal Sunshine: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field

7 October 2013

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field

Book club time!

Yes, book club. Please don't hate, we're the coolest book worms you ever could know. We're also  an unorganised and unmotivated bunch which is why I've decided this post is in order and in fact, quite overdue. So girls, get your analytical caps on, we're having book club via blog. 

We read And The Mountains Echoed  by Khaled Hosseini, who is an amazing author who wrote such other masterpieces such as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

And The Mountains Echoed is a sensational novel about family and the way you are linked with each other, even when you may never have met. It is about betrayal, forgiveness and the moral ambiguity that lies between. Most of all, it's about love and all the different shades of love that exist. 

This book was beautifully written with the quintessential Hosseini voice shining through. Beginning in Afghanistan, the writer takes us through time and space to include FranceGreece and the USA in the ever growing story of strong family ties, harsh realities and sometimes the downright ugly side of human nature.  

While I adored this novel, at times it was hard to grab a handle of. Hosseini himself wrote that “a story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.” Whilst the destination was reached in the end, sometimes I forgot where I was heading to in the first place. It was slightly disjointed in places where I'm used to a solid continuous story line.

To be honest, the moral ambiguity in the book was the hardest for me to grasp. I like to think that I am completely open minded and understanding of certain circumstances, but I think this book pushed the boundaries of what is right and wrong in my own mind. Hosseini opened the book with a Rumi poem: "out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." This thought-provoking poem set the tone for the rest of the novel with many different scenarios that made you question just how close the line is between good and evil. Is it really wrong to give away your child if you feel they'll be in better hands elsewhere? Just because your someone's mother, does that give you the right to run their lives?

Although I found it difficult to follow at times (probably just me!), And The Mountains Echoed was a moving book. Just like in all his other novel, Hosseini has a way of drawing you in to relate to characters that seem nothing like you from the outset. I definitely recommend this book, and if you can't keep up, just treat it like a book of short stories, it's still beautifully written with interesting and heartbreakingly real characters. 
xx Luce

Discuss this: And the Mountains Echoed begins in Afghanistan, moves to Europe and Greece, and ends in California, gradually widening its perspective. What do you think the author was trying to accomplish by including so many different settings and nationalities? What elements of the characters' different experiences would you say are universal? Do you think the characters themselves would see it that way?

The book raises many questions about the wavering line between right and wrong, and whether it is possible to be purely "good"—or purely "bad." What do you think after reading the novel: Are good intentions enough to create good deeds? Can positive actions come from selfish motivations? Can bad come from positive intent? How do you think this novel would define a good person? How would you define one?

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