Khaled Hosseini is a Muslim citizen of the United States, where he has lived for the past 33 years. Khaled was born in Afghanistan in 1965 and came with his father to the USA in 1981 after his father was granted political asylum.
That was the period when the Soviets had engineered a communist coup in Afghanistan and Khalid’s father could not go back. He was working in Paris at that time. Khalid’s father, in any case, did not want to go back to Afghanistan and he took the easier option of asking for asylum in the USA. The American government with its phobia of communism readily granted asylum to Hosseini.
Perhaps if the scenario had been 2013, Khalid’s father would not have got asylum that easily. The wheel has turned full circle and Muslims who may or not have terror links are no longer welcome in the USA. It is to the credit of Khaled Hosseini that he has integrated with American life. But all along he has maintained his Muslim trappings.
He took to writing in the early twenty-first century and published his first novel ‘The Kite Runner ‘in 2003. The novel was a runaway hit and topped the bestseller charts for over 101 weeks. One of the reasons for the success of the book was its locale, Afghanistan which remains an enigma to most Americans. The old saying ‘distance lends enchantment to the view’ has been used by Hosseini to tempt the American audience with his books with Afghanistan as the locale.
And the Mountain Echoed
Khalid Hosseini has now penned another novel titled ‘And the Mountain Echoed’ in 2013. This is his third novel and again has Afghanistan as the background. Afghanistan is the home country of the writer and it is natural that most of his writings bring out the culture and clash of values of life in Afghanistan. Hosseini does not restrict himself to Afghanistan but encompasses a sweep that takes the reader from Kabul to Paris and further to the USA. It’s a very well written book and Hosseini presents a very plausible tale.
The story commences from an Afghan village when a poor man named Saboor relates a tale to justify his actions to his son, Abdullah. The real-life implication of the tale is that Abdullah is parted from his sister Pari who he loves greatly. He realizes that his father Saboor plans to sell his sister to a wealthy Kabul couple. She leaves and that void forever alters the lives of the young children.
Pari remains in the mind of Abdullah as Hosseini covers a period of six decades from the fifties to the 21st century. The characters move from small villages of Afghanistan to Paris and finally to the Greek island of Tinos.
Hosseini relates a parallel tale of characters like the step mother of Pari, Parwana and her brother Nab. Hosseini writes beautifully and one cannot distinguish from his writing that he is not an American by birth. The only giveaway is his locale of Afghanistan, which he presents to American readers with a lovely tale of human emotions.
Hosseini and Afghanistan
This novel is exquisite and readers will find information about Afghanistan wrapped in a lovely tale. Hosseini brings to the fore the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan and how life is in the Afghan villages. It is sad that the Taliban have started an insurrection and wants to enforce the Wahhabi form of Islam. This may well take the Afghans back to the 6th century if they win. Hosseini deserves credit for writing this novel which has been liked by the American populace at large.
Hosseini is an MD from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine in 1993. He practiced medicine for 10 years before venturing as a writer with his book ‘The Kite Runners’. Subsequently, he wrote ‘A thousand Splendid Suns’
Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and visited Afghanistan in 2007. Presently he resides in Northern California with his wife Roya and two children. But despite this Hosseini is a man who will never go back to Afghanistan.
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