Great Khaled Hosseini Interview

by Rachel Baker on July 3, 2014

One of the things I love about Hosseini’s books is their ability to help me understand what it may be like to live in a country that has different values than mine. When reading his books, I am able to insert myself into the time and place; which gives me a greater possibility of understanding a people and values completely foreign to me.

I love his books, and I think this interview is pretty interesting. The interview is timed to coincide with And the Mountains Echoed coming out in paperback today.  If you haven’t read the book, you should.  If you haven’t read any of his books, there are three – and you should read The Kite Runner first, then A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Probably, you can read them in any order you’d like, but I think reading them in order helps you understand the story Hosseini is telling.

There are moments about loss and sacrifice. Pari being sold to save her family. Parwana leaving her twin sister out in the countryside, we believe to die. Nabi making good on his promise to his employer, Suleiman, to help him when the end came. Why the focus on pain? What were you trying to make your reader understand?

You know, I think if we think back on our life, there’s pain and suffering and difficult decisions — [they are] so central to every human experience. I think that’s part of the reason why we read books that deal with those issues. And that in reading them in some way there’s a communal experience of these emotions.

And we feel somehow less alone. And we feel like our own pain and suffering, albeit different from those of the characters, [are] understood by others. And that others have gone through this. The idea for the book really came about from a story that I read in 2008, which is really about these very painful and difficult acts of sacrifice and decision-making. The story was about the winter of 2008 in Afghanistan, which was just brutal. A lot of people died. And I read stories about families in Afghanistan who were living in villages who were selling their children to wealthy couples in Kabul to be adopted. I suspect in some cases to be enlisted in some form of house labor.

But these families were selling their children so that they could support the rest of their kids. And to also provide a somewhat better life for those children who were being sold. Just as a father, I kind of thought about — when I read that, I kind of thought about the kind of a Sophie’s choice, you know, dilemma that is faced by a parent. And how painful and agonizing that must have been. That it really happened. That real fathers had to make those decisions. That kind of became one of the central emotions in the book.

Here’s the Article:
Khaled Hosseini talks to Rosiland Jordan

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