Khaled Hosseini’s enthralling novels are splendid and timeless creations that evoke core emotions in readers with vivid imagery of the secluded and bruised Afghan culture during the Soviet invasion and the aftermath of the fall of the Taliban regime.
Each of these novels exposes the identity crisis and brutal fate of the Afghan people in the 1980s perspective. He unfolds the different outliers of cultural destruction and demolishing humanity on the verge of the Soviet invasion, presenting the richness and beauty of Afghan culture and its people to a global audience. Khaled Hosseini portrays how a culture is demolished by Soviet invasions.
In his effort to bring attention to the plights of Afghan refugees, he puts the spectacles on different characters with their unique perils amid the apocalyptic chaos in socio-political situations. As a wordsmith of simple truths, along with bruised pain points and truths of each personality, Khaled Hosseini brings out the universal dilemmas of humans with all kinds of truths.
About the Author
Khaled Hosseini is one of the most acclaimed and extensively read American novelists of Afghan origin. More than thirty-eight million copies of his books have been sold in more than seventy countries around the world. He is highly praised and revered for his classic creation, “The Kite Runner,” bestowed with the accolade of Book of the Decade, specially picked by The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Guardian.
Born in 1965 in Kabul, Afghanistan, Khaled Hosseini upholds the rich ethnic identity of Afghan tribes. Concerning his ethnicity, Hosseini stated, “I’m not pure anything. There’s a Pashtun part of me, a Tajik part of me.”
Born into an affluent family of an Afghan diplomat, he was privileged with a conducive upbringing environment in a noble neighborhood in Kabul. At that time, Kabul was a growing and thriving cosmopolitan city where he grew up with flocks of cousins and enjoyed his childhood by flying kites.
Being the eldest of the five siblings, he learned about different cultures from his father’s early movements to Tehran and Paris. These movements triggered his prospect to learn and experience from other cultures.
As an Afghan-born American novelist, he is renowned for the vivid depiction of Afghan cultures, values, and lifestyles. Growing up in Kabul with all the cherished simple childhood pleasures and affinity for close-knit friendships with cousins and family, he internalized the core values of Afghan brotherhood and the unique gravity of deep-rooted Afghan music, poetry, and literature. These eventually emboldened his intense depiction of Afghan culture in his literary work in a simple yet classic form that is comprehensible through the common elements or medium of every cultural integration.
His father moved to Paris for his diplomatic assignment in 1976. Soon afterward, in 1979, the Soviet Invasion took place, and they were unable to return to Afghanistan. Instead, his father pursued political asylum in America and relocated to California with his family.
Having been granted political refuge by the United States of America, Hosseini embarked on a new life in the country at the age of 15. He did not speak English when he arrived in the United States. Initially alienated by the cultural shock and the feeling of “survivor’s guilt” for leaving his home country prior to the Soviet invasion that led to ensuing wars, he attended medical school in San Diego and practiced medicine for ten years. He started his groundbreaking debut novel, “The Kite Runner,” in 2001, and it was published in 2003. It immediately won the hearts of many readers across continents, establishing him as one of the most treasured writers of contemporary American literature.
As a Goodwill Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), he advocates for humanitarian support for the Afghan people. Later, he founded The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Summary of the Books
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The #1 bestselling novel, “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini has won the hearts of millions of readers worldwide, expanding its omnipresence in the hearts of readers across the globe.
“This extraordinary novel locates the personal struggles of everyday people in the terrible sweep of history.” —People
It is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of an unbelievable friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant against the backdrop of the Soviet Invasion in Afghanistan in 1979. It’s an intense story of change and destruction, a sweeping story of duplicity and salvation, and an exploration of the exercise of power by fathers over their sons and their sacrifice.
As an odyssey of the young boy Amir, the story centers from his childhood to boyhood to manhood. When Amir returns to Afghanistan to rid himself of the guilt of failing to act, the story enlightens readers with a new light of hope to stand up for what is right and throttle down what is wrong.
“A vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people [of Afghanistan] have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence—forces that continue to threaten them even today.” –New York Times Book Review
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Published in 2008, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini is driven with similar wonderful storytelling about a deeply moving tale of family, faith, friendship, and salvation in love and forgiveness.
“[Hosseini] is a writer of unique sensitivities. . . . Hosseini embraces an old-fashioned storytelling unconcerned with literary hipness, unafraid of sentimentality, unworried about the sort of Dickensian coincidences that most contemporary American writers consider off-limits. . . . We are lucky . . . to have a writer of Hosseini’s storytelling ambitions interpreting his culture and history for us with another large-hearted novel. . . . Despite the unjust cruelties of our world, the heroines of A Thousand Splendid Suns do endure, both on the page and in our imagination.”—Miami Herald
Amid the war-trodden crude reality, two women – Mariam and Laila – come together to battle war, loss, and fate and form an unlikely friendship during a time of destruction and unforgiving situations. They support and embrace an unbelievable friendship, forming a bond that impacts their next generations. They overcome generational conflicts and gaps and compose a memory of love that is key to their survival in the ever-escalating dangers around them. Being the wives of an abusive husband, Mariam and Laila show the radical shifts in the socio-political climate of Afghanistan.
“Spectacular. . . . Hosseini’s writing makes our hearts ache, our stomachs clench, and our emotions reel. . . . Hosseini mixes the experiences of these women with imagined scenarios to create a fascinating microcosm of Afghan family life. He shows us the interior lives of the anonymous women living beneath identity-diminishing burqas… Hosseini writes in gorgeous and stirring language of the natural beauty and colorful cultural heritage of his native Afghanistan. . . . Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope.”—USA Today
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
“And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini is one of the most engrossing family sag of unbounded affections and love of siblings, a tale of desperation and despair with occasional rays of hope, traveling across Paris, Afghanistan, and Greece.
The readers are transported to an undeniable quest to seek refuge amid the dilapidated faith, beliefs, and dehumanization of a war-ravaged population through the adversaries who caused and contributed to their ruin and demolished their cultural heritage.
“And the Mountains Echoed opens like a thunderclap. . . . [Hosseini] asks good, hard questions about the limits of love. . . . Love, Hosseini seems to say, is the great leveler, cutting through language, class, and identity. No one in this gripping novel is immune to its impact.”—O, the Oprah Magazine
“There is an assured, charismatic new maturity to Hosseini’s voice. When he hits his stride, the results are electrifying.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Published in 2013, “And the Mountains Echoed” unfolds the intertwined stories of a brother and sister separated following a sibling divergence in Afghanistan. It is an emotionally intricate and intense tale that revolves around our choices and how these choices resonate across generations.
Opinion About the Series
The Kite Runner is about the odyssey of Amir, who rises from his boyhood affliction—the scars of his childhood memories of abuse and the disgrace of his dear friend Hassan. The story symbolizes the kite in the open skies—as the kite faces and falls—a boy’s growth is damaged by rape and abuse and shatters their beliefs and faiths. As Amir is haunted by the disgrace and betrayal that happened to his friend, he seeks atonement to heal and to change for salvation.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a story about hope over despair and rebuilding after destruction. Like the phoenix, humans hope and struggle to revive and relive, and finally, to rebuild even after being thrashed by despair and annihilation.
Through decades of despair and betrayals in Afghanistan, two women – Mariam and Laila – unfold their journey from being girls to women. But the story of abuse is long and unbearable. The political unrest and violence in Kabul further enhance their perils. It’s a story about how two women revolt against insurmountable torture and unite to heal each other’s fate through protest to reinstate their unlikely friendship against all wrongs poured over them.
In And the Mountains Echoed an unforgettable tale about the bonding of brother and sister surpasses time, and it’s the most treasured memory that siblings share and which echoes as the bundles of joy throughout their lives. Although they were separated at an early age, their childhood memories are like the pristine nature of tranquility—all the memories that are unfaded by time’s own wheels. The coming together after ages brings back and resonates with the pure affection of siblings.”
Hosseini’s novels revolve around hope to rebuild even after all the destruction because energy never ceases; it is transformed into a new life across every generation with a new spectrum and with a new world order. As change is the only constant, the upheavals of civilizations are just another way to transform and reinvent the courses of humanity in a new mirror. The upheavals of faith, belief, love, affection, friendship, betrayal, redemption, atonement, and rejuvenation are the wheels of human life that roll around family life and are influenced by the triggers of socio-economic commotions.
Each of his novels is an astonishing revelation of dark secrets, secrets that squeeze our soul to unrest, secrets that hurdle and drag us to stand for what is right and to bolster our bonds of friendship to fight against all the wrong commotions. These stories embolden us to rise against dehumanization and every injustice. This enables us to free ourselves from the guilt of being silent about injustice and to rebuild on the verge of utter distress and despair all over the world.
Reading these novels will not only enlighten the global audience with what happened and what is happening in Afghanistan but will pull us to uncover our own inner soul to look deeper and feel intensely at our conscience. Unearth the secrets of self, and these stories will draw you toward a journey of self-actualization and atonement. They also bring forth a sense of bonding in families and friendships. Moreover, these give a cause a reason to stand for humanity and empathize with gratitude to those who are not privileged.