Khaled Hosseini is an Afghani-American author best known for his novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. In the years following the September 11th terrorist attacks, Hosseini’s writings shined a spotlight on the beauty of Afghanistan, the ravages of civil war, and the unjust treatment of women under the Taliban regime.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965 to a diplomat father and a teacher mother. When he was 11, his father began working in Paris, but the family was not able to return to Afghanistan at the end of his tenure due to the overthrow of President Daoud in 1978 and the invasion by the Soviets in 1980. His family sought political asylum in California, where Hosseini earned a degree in medicine in 1993. It was while he was working as a doctor that he began to write his novels.
In 2003, he released his first work titled The Kite Runner which follows the journey of a young Afghani man as he tries to right his wrongs and make up for the choices he made which severed his relationship with his childhood best friend. Two years after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, most of the information coming out of Afghanistan was negative for Western audiences. The Kite Runner explored the previously peaceful country of before it became ravaged by civil war and ultimately, the Taliban. What made this novel especially powerful was that it depicted the Afghan people as victims, too, especially poor families and minority groups. Hosseini’s follow-up novel A Thousand Splendid Suns examines the particular impact that the Taliban regime had on women and children. In particular, Hosseini highlights the loss of basic human rights women and young girls experienced under the Taliban, and their struggle for freedom not only from the regime, but from abusive husbands and family members as well.
Hosseini’s novels are thoughtful insights into family, a country’s history, the ravages of war, and redemption.
“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”
“Marriage can wait, education cannot.”
“But that’s what I’m saying to you… That there are bad people in this world, and sometimes bad people stay bad. Sometimes you have to stand up to them.”