Hosseini, Khaled 1965–
Hosseini, Khaled 1965–
PERSONAL: Born 1965, in Kabul, Afghanistan; immigrated to the United States, 1980. Education: Santa Clara University, B.A. (biology), 1988; University of San Diego, M.D., 1993. Hobbies and other interests: Soccer, racquetball, writing, involved in charities Paralyzed Vets of America and Aid the Afghan Children.
ADDRESSES: Office—The Permanente Medical Group, 555 Castro St., 3rd Fl., Mountain View, CA 94041. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Practicing physician specializing in internal medicine, 1996–; The Permanente Medical Group, Mountain View, CA, physician, 1999–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Original Voices Award, Borders Group, 2004, for The Kite Runner.
The Kite Runner, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2003.
ADAPTATIONS: The Kite Runner was adapted for audio (unabridged; eight cassettes), read by the author, Simon & Schuster, 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, the son of a diplomat father and teacher mother. In 1976 the family was relocated to Paris, France, where they remained until 1980 following the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. They were then granted political asylum in the United States and moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini's parents left everything behind and relied on welfare until they were able to get back on their feet. Hosseini became a physician, but he had always loved to write. His debut novel, The Kite Runner, was called "painful, moving, remarkable" by Library Journal reviewer Michael Adams, who reviewed the audio version. In the book, Hosseini returns to the pre-Soviet Afghanistan of his childhood and relates his feelings for a servant who had lived in the household, a man who taught him to read and write. "Rather than settle for a coming-of-age or travails-of-immigrants story, Hosseini has folded them both into this searing spectacle of hard-won personal salvation," wrote a Kirkus Reviews critic. "All this, and a rich slice of Afghan culture too: irresistible."
The story spans four decades and is told by the protagonist, Amir, who as an adult is a writer living in California. His story goes back to his childhood in Kabul, when the quiet, motherless boy yearns for attention from his successful father, Bapa, but finds a friend in Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir resents sharing his father's affection with the loyal and talented Hassan, but when Amir wins a kite-flying contest, his father finally gives him the praise he craves. But in that single incident, he loses Hassan, who goes after a downed kite and is attacked and raped by Assef, the town bully. Because of his feelings of guilt for not helping his friend, Amir pushes Hassan away, even accusing of him of theft, and eventually, the family leaves the community.
The story then fast forwards to the adult Amir, who has fled Afghanistan during the Russian occupation, moved to the bay area of California, married a beautiful Af-ghan woman, and became a successful writer. His father has died of cancer, but in 2001 his father's partner, who knows the history of Amir and Hassan, calls from Pakistan. He tells Amir that Hassan and his wife have been executed by the Taliban, leaving their son, Sohrab. He suggests that Amir owes a debt to Hassan, and Amir agrees. He returns to find Sohrab in the custody of Assef, and it is then that he finally stands up to the man who had raped his friend.
Edward Hower wrote in the New York Times Book Review that "Hosseini's depiction of prerevolutionary Afghanistan is rich in warmth and humor but also tense with the friction between the nation's different ethnic groups." The critic added, "The novel's canvas turns dark when Hosseini describes the suffering of his country under the tyranny of the Taliban…. The final third of the book is full of haunting images." School Library Journal reviewer Penny Stevens called The Kite Runner a "beautifully written first novel." And a Publishers Weekly contributor called the novel "stunning," adding that "it is rare that a book is at once so timely and of such high literary quality."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of The Kite Runner, p. 1864.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 630.
Kliatt, November, 2003, Nancy C. Chaplin, review of The Kite Runner (audiobook), p. 50.
Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Rebecca Stuhr, review of The Kite Runner, p. 122; November 15, 2003, Michael Adams, review of The Kite Runner (audio), p. 114.
New York Times Book Review, August 3, 2003, Edward Hower, review of The Kite Runner, p. 4.
Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 43.
School Library Journal, November, 2003, Penny Stevens, review of The Kite Runner, p. 171.
Times (London, England), August 30, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 17.
Khaled Hosseini Home Page, http://www.khaledhosseini.com/ (March 12, 2003).
Weekend Edition Sunday, http://www.npr.org/ (July 27, 2003), Liane Hansen, interview with Khaled Hosseini.