Presented to the Calgary Women’s Literary Club by Elaine Buckman, October 27, 2020.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965 and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1980. He was trained as a medical doctor and wrote his first book ‘The Kite Runner’ in the early morning hours before going to his medical practice.
His published books include ‘The Kite Runner’, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, ‘The Mountains Echoed’ and recently ‘Sea Prayer’. These books have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into several languages including his native tongue, Farsi.
Ms. Buckman describes his style as a long narrative with many details. The themes are of cruelty and violence as well as redeeming love, including the pain of loss of land, family, position as well as starting over in a new land. He describes in vivid language the pain of the refugee, the unwanted and perhaps the unwelcomed. In his own case, he tells the story of the immigrant whose parents suffered so their children could do well.
His books also give the reader a greater understanding of Afghanistan;the many armies who have controlled the land including the British, the Russians, the Taliban; and the country’s struggle with democracy. The structure of the society and it’s clas divisions are also themes best shown in ‘The Kite Runnner’ between two boys, one a rich man’s son and the othe the son’s servant playmate. The ‘Thousand Splendid Suns’ book vividly describes the role of women in that society, particularly the poor and lower middle class women. It is a painful story of violence depicted against the rise of the Taliban. As we know, these forces are also present today in Afghanistan’s struggle to maintain it’s state.
Khaled Hosseini is now a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency and the founder of the Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, especially women and children. His father would be proud: he is a good man.