Author Spotlight: Khaled Hosseini

Is there a particular author who writes books that make you weep into your pillow? Do you mentally prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster you will be experiencing when you read his or her books? Does this author write so beautifully that you feel incapable of picking up another book after reading their work? Have you been emotionally destroyed by this author?

Hands up if you answered Khaled Hosseini to all of the above questions!

Author Spotlight: Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini’s books are perfect for book clubs as there are many themes that are explored in his stories. Afghani culture, feminism, oppression, family, marriage and friendships are just a few of the themes that Hosseini explores through expert storytelling. You will feel every emotion while you read his books. You will feel the character’s guilt, longing, sadness, anger and most importantly, love. You will feel the heartache of a mother, the guilt of an old friend, the loneliness of a wife and the hope of a child.

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The Kite Runner:

“For you, a thousand times over.”

The Kite Runner was the first book I read by Hosseini and it shook me to my core. The story is set in Kabul and revolves around the childhood friendship of Amir and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan. At a young age, they were each other’s confidants, but all that changes when Amir witnesses a brutal act of violence against Hassan by their local bully and does not intervene. Riddled with guilt, Amir keeps his distance from his childhood friend and builds a life far away from him and the memory of what took place. Years later, Amir has to face the consequences of his actions, and inactions. The biggest themes in this book are friendship, father-son relationships, guilt and redemption. There were parts of this book that really broke my heart and a couple of scenes that were hard to read. However, it was important to read as well. As tough as it is to read about violent acts, it helps us remember that these acts occur beyond the pages of the book in real life. The Kite Runner was written with a lot of heart and I highly recommend it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns:

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

I remember being in a daze from being emotionally destroyed by this book. A Thousand Splendid Suns is my absolute favorite Khaled Hosseini book. The story revolves around two Afghan women, Laila and Mariam, from different generations brought together by war and loss. Mariam is the illegitimate child of Jalil, a wealthy businessman. When her mother commits suicide, Jalil marries Mariam off to a much older and abusive man. For years, Mariam becomes pregnant but cannot carry the baby to term. Her husband, Rasheed, becomes violent as their childless years pass by. Laila is a girl who is in love with her childhood friend Tariq. When a rocket destroys Laila’s home and kills her parents, Rasheed and Mariam take her into their home. Rasheed is eager to have a second young wife who can give him children, and convinces her to marry him after news that Tariq was also killed. These two women form an unbreakable bond in what seems to be a hopeless life filled with violence and sadness. I was rooting for Mariam and Laila throughout the book. The biggest themes in this book are motherhood, friendship, family and women in Afghanistan. The reason why this book is my favorite is because of the relationship between Mariam and Laila. While they start off as being rivals, their relationship develops into friendship and ultimately into a mother-daughter bond. This is a beautifully written book that really pulls at your heartstrings.

And the Mountains Echoed

“I now know that some people feel unhappiness the way others love: privately, intensely, and without recourse.”

This book is filled with complex characters across generations and continents. Every character has a tragic backstory that interweaves into a novel filled with hardship and lost love. The story begins with a poor farmer who sells his infant daughter to a childless couple in Kabul. We then follow the story of this little girl’s heartbroken brother, who raised her when their mother died. We also follow the story of the children’s stepmother and her own backstory filled with betrayal and guilt. Each story explored different emotions and the outcomes really surprised me, especially the ending.

Why you should read these books:
Khaled Hosseini’s books will take you on an emotional journey, and while some people may not want to read sad books, his books are so much more than sad. There is always a glimmer of hope in every one of his books, despite the tragedy and loss experienced by the characters. You will also learn about the historical, political and cultural aspects of Afghanistan. There is nothing I love more than learning new things while reading books. Khaled will be releasing his new book  “Sea Prayer” on September 18th. This book will shed light on the struggles of refugees who are forced from their homes by war. Mark your calendars!

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