Friday, April 12, 2013

Khaled Hosseini

Where do I even start?!

I read Hosseini's first book, The Kite Runner, when I was in ninth grade. I still remember setting down the book when I finished it, conscious of the numbness that had settled down on me. The numbness that came from the realization that some stories could be so powerful that the words gripped you, transported you to a completely alien country and forced you to care for the people there.

The Kite Runner is a tale of friendship and betrayal, of cowardice and guilt. Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament to earn his father's affection, and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. Yet, Amir betrays his friend in a crucial juncture. After the country is invaded by Russians, Amir and his father are forced to flee to America and rebuild their shattered lives. But ghosts of the past never truly leave and ultimately, the novel is about Amir's quest for redemption.

So blown away was I by the depth of the characters and the beauty of the prose that I had high expectations for A Thousand Splendid Suns. Boy, did Hosseini exceed them all. The story of how Maryam and Laila, two women from completely different backgrounds, form a bond and fight for each other in the face of brutality in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan was so epic that it made Amir's story look tame. Maybe I loved Hosseini's second offering more because the protagonists are women and I could understand, relate with, their trials and tribulations better.

If The Kite Runner numbed me with its intensity, A Thousand Splendid Suns was so full of heartbreak and hope that, towards the end, I was sobbing like someone close to me had died. Plus, the glimpses into the social, political and cultural facets of Afghanistan made the stories all the more vivid. They testify to the devastating effects of war on ordinary people, and also to the power of human resilience.

The thing about Hosseini's works is that they don't feel like he's telling a story. It's like he's making you live them.

No wonder I'm looking forward to reading And The Mountains Echoed once it comes out in May. I have faith in Khaled Hosseini's ability to produce more masterpieces. I believe he will not disappoint me, and thousands of other readers.


9 comments:

  1. "And just like a compass needle finds north, a man's accusing finger will always find a women."
    I read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" years ago but this phrase stuck. Books like these tend to have a lasting impact on the reader. You couldn't have chosen a better K word.

    Sania at Embracing Dawn

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    1. I wanted to fit in the particular quote too, but couldn't. That was a truth so profound, so relevant to our society that it was permanently seared into my mind.

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  2. I own these books, but I haven't gotten the chance to read them yet. I may move them up a bit on my TBR pile. Thanks for the review!

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    1. I'm sure you'll like them. You're welcome :)

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  3. Funny, I just came from another blog that did the same K! It's a great choice too.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, I would have loved to read that too. Thanks, Kristen!

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