Recently, I started sharing random facebook updates on the books that I read. After sometime, a close friend sent me a message and suggested that I should start doing book reviews on my blog. She said that she had gotten two books after seeing the comments on my update concerning a writer that I had reviewed.
I have always loved reading but this year I took it a notch higher. I simply replaced my TV time with book time. I still spend my evenings on my couch and in my bed. However, it’s not with a remote in my hands or my laptop watching a movie but with a good book.
I discovered Khaled Hosseini in the library at my workplace. I can’t remember what made me pick up the the kite runner. It may have been the size of the book or how the cover looked. I looked at the book, the writer’s photo and read some of the reviews about it and the back cover teaser. I have been reading a lot of African literature books so when I saw that this was about Afghanistan, I picked it but without much keenness.
When I finally got around to reading, I was completely hooked. It took me two evenings to complete it and this is only because I had to go to work in between.
Kite runner is about friendship, kinship, love and the effects of war. It tells of a friendship between two boys, Hassan and Amir who came from different walks of life but shared a kinship. An odd master-servant relationship that still maintained these basics where one was the master and the other the slave but still they were friends. However, events occur that put this precious friendship to the test.
It also shows how people accept their circumstances and make the best out of life. The Hazara people in Afghanistan seem to be treated so poorly. It’s almost a curse to be born Hazara. It is a tribe that takes the roles of slaves. Interestingly, the Hazara were the low caste in the society even before the war. After the war, things just took a turn to the worse. Servants are at least human beings, in post-war Afghanistan; Hazaras were not treated as humans.
Another angle to this story is an unfolding tale of a father-son relationship where the son is constantly seeking approval from his father. He goes to great lengths and makes unforgivable sacrifices to try and get this.
Kite runner is also a story on love and the power of this emotion. The power of love to heal and amend past wrongs is illustrated through different relationships in the book.
Another theme in this book is war and the effects of it. You get a glimpse of pre-war Afghanistan with the kite runners. You then get to see just how people were destroyed by war.
Kite Runner will have you laughing and crying. I have never cried like that because of a book. The book is well written in a manner that is so captivating that it takes you right to the middle of the story. I have never been to Afghanistan and all I know of the country is Taliban and war. However, through Hosseini’s narrative, I saw Kabul with rich culture, beautiful architecture and family bonds.
I give this book five stars and strongly recommend it.
A thousand Splendid Suns
Immediately I returned my copy of the kite runner to the library, I took Khaled’s second book a thousand splendid suns. From my facebook updates, I received amazing reviews from people encouraging me to read this book. Judy, Shi, Faith, Carol, Joy, my friends who were already familiar with the works of Khaled’s urged me on. This puts some silly pressure on me. Like a woman looking forward to a first date, I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted to ensure that I was in the best mood. I had the best seat in the house and everything was perfect before i started reading. Finally, with my phone off, music low and on my favorite couch, I met Khaled again for our second date.
I thought Kite runner was moving but a thousand splendid suns exceeded my expectations. It is a beautiful story. It has so much sadness and surprisingly a happy ending. My friend Joy had advised me to read the book with gender in mind and a few pages in, I understood exactly what she meant.
This book about Mariam and Laila, these are two women from different worlds who were brought together by the war in Afghanistan. One woman’s life is filled with so much tragedy; it will bring tears to your eyes. The other woman knows tragedy too but there is a happy ending for her. Depending on how you choose to look at it, you may actually conclude that both women had a happy ending.
The story brings out a strong theme about gender. It shows what the girl child goes through being ignored by a father who had wanted a son. It also shows what women went through. Even in pre-war Afghanistan, young girls were married off; women were banished for conceiving out of wedlock, men dictated what women had to wear. There were stories of all kinds of abuse towards the “perceived” weaker sex.
When war broke out and the Taliban took power, it was a nightmare for all women. There were so many harsh rules set. All men had to do was to grow a beard. Women were basically imprisoned at home, not allowed to be seen in public without a man accompanying them, they were not allowed to laugh in public or raise their voices. Make up was banned and showing the face or even worse the hair, was strongly prohibited as all women had to hide behind their burqas. Women were not allowed to work or even access medical care. It was a very bad time to be a woman in Afganistan.
Love is the surprising theme in this book. There is a tale of love that would rival the titanic. It will have you smiling, crying and even cheering at some point. I absolutely loved this part of the book, the most.
Khaled Hosseini is quite the narrator and I look forward to reading his newest book, And the Mountains Echoed.
He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
I love that part in the biography of Hosseni since it speaks to me. It took him ten years to finally start doing what he truly loved doing.Impressive!
Below is the full biography of Hosseini Khaled from the Wikipedia.
Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973, Hosseini’s family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini’s youngest brother was born in July of that year.
In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini’s father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR.
He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah).
14 thoughts on “The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossieni”
I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this info for my mission.
Thank you for the feedback. I got my information from reading the books 🙂
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Thank you very much Ray for your kind words and will definitely check out your blog too 🙂
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Thank you very much and you are definitely welcome back….
Nice review of nice books! 😉 But, I can’t find these books in my country, dear! I like the theme “friendship.” 💗
Wah!! Ukhti, your country is Indonesia, right? It’s an injustice that they do not have bookstores with such awesome books…….i wish i could send you my copy!! Am not sure about shopping for it online, like thru amazon or something…me, am old school, i prefer walking into a bookstore and getting myself a hard copy!!
I would however urge you to get “Kite Runner”…it’s a fantastic read!
@Abu: I thought it was Malaysia, not sure about why the books are unavailable there though. Its true though, Kite runner is definitely an awesome read.
I had ever read some of books in Indonesian. It has translated. I wanna read in English. I thought the good books like those usually can be find in big cities, 😅 Yeah, sometimes my country isn’t available in Amazon. I’d love if you can send me the soft/ hard copy. Thank you!
How comes the books aren’t available in your country? I am intrigued. Are they banned or is it that there is no market for fiction? I have the books on soft copy though.The theme of friendship comes out very strongly in both books, i think you would enjoy them 🙂
I’ve ever tried to use my Amazon account there, but it wasn’t available for some books/ kindles . 😊 I’d love if you can share those beautiful stories. Thank you, dear! 💗