Monday, February 11, 2008

Khaled Hosseini

For Christmas, I received The Kite Runner by Hosseini. I devoured it in less than two days. It was the best book I have read in such a long time, and I can easily put it at the top of my list of all time favorite books.

It was fascinating to read because it took place in Afghanistan, which is a place I am really not all that familiar with. Before reading this book, I only knew that the Taliban was situated in Afghanistan and that they are a horrible group of people. After we (The U.S) sent troops to Afghanistan, we were able to see images of the people of Afghanistan in the news; we began to hear of the atrocities committed by the Taliban against the citizens of Afghanistan. That was when I first became aware of women in Burqas and the horrible way that women are treated in Afghanistan.

Really, though, I was ignorant about much else regarding Afghanistan.

The Kite Runner made me laugh, made me cringe, made me cry and at times, I was afraid to turn the page for fear of what would be described in upcoming paragraphs. It was a devastatingly beautiful book, and I hated that I finished it so quickly.

A few weeks ago, I checked A Thousand Splendid Suns out from the library, and I was afraid that I would not have time to read it before it was due (2/14). I couldn't renew it because there are holds on it. Well, I don't know what I was thinking because I simply could not put down The Kite Runner, so I don't know why A Thousand Splendid Suns would be any different. I tried to put it down, but I couldn't. I read it in one day-- except for three chapters that I read on Saturday night. With this book, just like the previous, I would put the book down for fear of what I predicted was coming, only to pick it up again immediately because I had to know if I was right or wrong. I am also terrible at flipping ahead, and anytime I thought something terrible was going to happen, I would flip ahead. I spoiled a few twists and turns due to my flipping ahead, but it saved me a lot of reader anxiety.

My nails, which I chew, are hurting today because this book had me chewing away like crazy.

It, too, was a sad book. But more than sad, it made me so angry. It is terrible that people live the way that is described in Hosseini's books. He starts in idyllic times, when there was a monarchy and it ends in the present turmoil. The Kite Runner focuses on a wealthy and respected father and his son; A Thousand Splendid Suns has two main characters: Mariam, who was born a harami and lived in very poor conditions with her mother; her father visits weekly like clockwork. The other character is Laila, and she is a few decades younger than Mariam and lives next door to adult Mariam. Ultimately, their paths cross and intertwine, and the book becomes their story. It is tragic, of course, because what else could it be? Though in tragedy, one can sometimes find beauty, and Hosseini really paints a beautiful portrait of Afghanistan and the people there-- people who are hostage, really, to these different factions of leadership who turn their world upside down and inside out.

I cannot wait until his next book. Hurry up, Mr. Hosseini!!

Read these books. You can thank me later for the recommendation.


renae8203 said...

Hey, I just read a different book by that same author about a sucessful Palestinian whose wife is involved in a terrorist bombing. He's wonderful. I am going to check out the Kite Runner. This author writes beautifully, and in a way that really brings more understanding to things that we really have troubles understanding.

shan said...

what book was that because I thought he only had the two books published. I'll have to get the one you're talking about next!