Check out full review of And the Mountains Echoed on Goodreads:

We may give lip service to "reinventing ourselves," but it is a truism that people want and expect us to do what we do best in life. Nowhere is this more evident than in the arts. If a certain genre of book, music, or movie makes someone famous, fans will want more of that. Once an author, musician or director tries “crossing over” into something new and different, he or she risks alienating as many old fans as gaining new ones. But to stick with the tried-and-true—and keep doing the same thing over and over—is stifling for an artist (and ironically invites its own brand of criticism—that he or she has become stale and unimaginative. Hence, that other sad truism, "damned if you do; damned if you don’t").

I have nearly finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s latest novel, And The Mountains Echoed. Hosseini really spread his wings in this one, not only through his somewhat arbitrary choice of locales and time periods, but in the sheer number of characters. So many people (and perspectives) to keep track of! So many physical features and quirky personalities! And so many interconnections that aren’t immediately obvious! The book review that appeared a few Sundays ago in my local newspaper was less than laudatory when it came to the sections set in Paris, Greece, and California. Perhaps I was influenced by that review, because I found my attention faltering a bit, my unswerving devotion to my favorite author wavering ever so slightly like a leaf in a pleasant but barely perceptible breeze. I felt as though Hosseini had left to explore the world and had come back with a boxload of exotic presents—only not all of them had been chosen with me in mind.

A part of me wanted him to feed me more of what I had come to expect of him. Those unfamiliar story lines at first seemed like digressions; they lacked the characteristic richness, color, and raw emotion so typical of Hosseini’s work—and so evident in the early chapters (which, like his first two novels, are set in Afghanistan). But to keep a writer imprisoned in a comfortable, familiar niche will eventually render him tiresome; no matter how beautiful his work, it will always be more of the same. (Not coincidentally I believe, this notion of personal expansion, self-discovery and escape are recurrent themes found throughout Hosseini’s latest novel—themes we could all stand to examine and relate to our own lives.)

But by the end, Hosseini was back in full force, if in an entirely different dimension. It was like reconnecting with a close friend who’d gone away for a time, then returned home slightly altered. Some ephemeral kinship was lost during this separation, even though we'd communicated via less-than-perfect means like email and Skype. But once we reconnected in full frontal mode, the bonds of closeness and familiarity were still there, and had been all along, even though my friend had grown in ways I hadn't expected.

Hosseini is clearly a brilliant and inspired writer, possessed of a sensitivity, poetry, and spiritual intimacy rarely found in men. So I am squarely behind his latest attempt to expand his (and our) literary horizons. Having now proven his talent and vision twice over, he has earned the right to stretch his legs—and his pen. I hope to someday be able to say the same of myself.