Khaled Hosseini is without a doubt one of the most talented authors I have ever had the pleasure to come across. With a talent for story-telling that I will gladly admit I am envious of, he has written three of the best books I have read to date, and I can only hope that he will write even more at some point. My mum has also read at least one of his novels, and while we normally differ greatly on our tastes as far as reading material is concerned, we both agreed that Hosseini’s books are ones everyone should read.
Out of the three of his novels, A Thousand Splendid Suns was my favourite; it is in fact among my top ten books of all time. As a young woman it both horrified and inspired me to read Mariam and Laila’s stories, to discover just how harsh and difficult the lives of some women can be. Faced with the sort of oppression and fear that I have been fortunate enough to never experience, their journeys throughout the novel are incredibly moving.
In each of his stories, Hosseini puts forth unforgettable moments for the reader. There are paragraphs from all three of his novels that have echoed in my head long after I’ve read them, jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching moments that are beautifully presented. His portrayal of events such as the rise of the Taliban and the fall of a country full of promise to one filled with despair are tragic to read. But set in among these sad times are scenes of absolute hope. His novels serve as a constant reminder of the endurance of people during times of great adversity.
His use of themes, ones like forgiveness, hope and love are a constant feature in all of his novels, presented in their rawest and purest form is gorgeous to read. The way in which he presents the bonds between family members have a depth to them which makes them feel so incredibly real. There is a simplicity to his writing style that makes it special to read. My heart broke on more than one occasion while reading his work, because of the way in which Hosseini wrote. When Mariam came home from her failed attempt to visit her father to discover the implications it had had, or when it dawns on Abdullah why their father made the journey to Kabul. When Amir witnesses the cruel treatment of his friend in the alleyway after the kite fighting tournament, a scene that would forever change their lives.
Not only does Hosseini write beautiful, haunting stories that stick with you for an incredibly long time after you set them down, he has also taken on the unbelievably important task of trying to educate people on a nation and faith that has been for far too long left in the darkness of negativity by the media through the use of fiction. I knew a little of the country of Afghanistan and the Islamic faith before I started to read his novels, and so I was aware somewhat of the beauty of them that is kept from people far too often. I quickly came to realise as I grew older that one of the single most important things you can do in today’s world is to educate yourself in some way on the faiths and cultures of others. Far too many fear what I now know to be one of the most beautiful faiths, all because they are ignorant of it. Ignorance leads to fear, which in turn can lead to hatred if not handled properly.
Through his novels, Khaled Hosseini has done a wonderful job of shedding some positive light on both the Islamic faith and the Afghan people, without making a song and dance out of it. He appears patriotic and proud without being overzealous. At no time does he appear to shy away from telling the reader about the atrocities faced by the people of Afghanistan; he doesn’t dull down the telling of the rise of extremism. But among his portrayal of the terrible events that these people have suffered he has reminded every reader of something else. The events that have unfolded in the Middle East over the last fifty years or so have put its people in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons on many occasions; Hosseini’s characters rectify so many of those wrongs. Through works of fiction he reminds us of the people behind the masks of extremism, shattering viewpoints that have been formed by so many over the years by the news.
Khaled Hosseini is one of those rare people, possessing an incredible gift. He is a wonderful writer, a great story teller, and the voice that the Afghan people, and the world, had been needing for far too long.