Friday, April 12, 2013

"K" for "Khaled Hosseini"

I got the box set of his books as a gift from my brother which he bought at Crosswords. I got them may be 2-3 years back but office, work and few other nonsensical reasons stopped me from unwrapping them. I successfully opened the box only last year and a single post is not enough to explain how much his books "impacted" me. Its not about feeling good or bad. Its just the impact. Its huge. After reading Kite runner I actually had to take a break to start "A thousand splendid suns" , the only reason is it was too much to take for. Too much had to sink in. Too many characters, too many lives, stories , tears , each and every word from the book touches your heart. I was all teary and also happy when Kite runner ended. I downloaded the movie and saw immediately even if movies never do justice to the books! Movie is also good but as always a lot was missed in the movie.

I am not here to review both the books in detail as it would be quite challenging. Rather I would just quote few things which I liked from both the books and give the reasons why I loved the books.

The Kite Runner

The Kite runner was published in 2003 by River head books. The story is set in Kabul , Afghanistan and describes the nuances of Kabul brilliantly. Its about a Pashtun family and how life takes a turn for them. A hazara (lower caste) boy who works at their home and the unconditional friendship between the boy Aamir and the hazara boy Hassan just brought tears to my eyes! I had to put the book down at few junctures as I was literally in tears. Flying Kites is a huge festival in Kabul and tournaments were held long back before Talibans polluted the place. I couldn't have imagined a vibrant and happening Kabul if I didn't read his books!

The story is set in a very bright back ground, which shows a happy Kabul and then the fall of Afghanistan's monarchy after Soviet's intervention and the rise of the Taliban regime which spoils the place completely. You feel nothing but rage as you start reading about Taliban's attacks and how people immigrated to Pakistan and the U.S.A.  Few unforgettable names from the book are Rahim Khan, Ali, Amir, Hassan  and Assef. To know how Amir's life takes a sharp turn and how all the facts are unfolded you need to read the book. If you already read the book I am sure you also would have liked it.

A country where writing , singing , dancing and even thinking is a crime I shudder when ever I remember the normal people there struggling every second to live a normal life. I feel helpless and restless. I wrote the below poem after reading the book.

Many Dreams in the eyes .

Many thoughts in the head.

If only fish can fly in the air!

If only a bird could also swim in the water.

If only the earth was a place for you , me and all.
If only there was no pain , tears , storms but only the warm sun and rainfall.

----- Afshan -----

I was disturbed for many days and had to take a break and read some breezy book to be mentally prepared to face "A thousand splendid suns." There are too many quotes from the book which are near to my heart but the two quotes below just bombarded me.

“And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” 

“Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don't have to say anything” 

A Thousand Splendid Suns!

If Kite runner impacted me , a thousand splendid suns just shook me hard. Being a woman I couldn't read all the gory facts , I couldn't bear the truth that many live in conditions which we can't even imagine in our worst nightmares! Khaled Hosseini wrote about women and their life this time. 

This is the upcoming movie poster

The book cover itself makes me sad. Woman
all alone fighting her demons and the "REAL" demons looking
over a destroyed city :(

He wrote about two women who are generation apart but life in a strange way makes them soul sisters. The story of Mariam and Laila and so many "other" characters who change their stories is quite an emotional one! Mariam plays the role of an illegitimate daughter whose simplest desires also never get fulfilled. You can relate to her feelings in many pages. Laila a happy child but still faces a weird destiny which makes her meet Mariam. You have to read the book to know how both their lives are conjointed? What happens to every other person involved in the story ? How Taliban rise brought the woman's stature down to a sheer animal ?

Flood of tears blinded my vision as I read the last pages of the book. I had to take a break and come back to finish it. My husband was worried looking at me. He felt helpless. I howled actually. I felt I know Mariam. I thought if only I could do some thing for her . The thought of 1000s of such women in Afghanistan harassed me. I called up my mom and cried when I narrated the story to her. She was surprised and consoled me but it did not help. I had a hot cup of tea and sat down to write some thing. Even that did not help. Nearly ten months after reading that book today I am able to write this in my blog.

Even now the same thought troubles me - Can we do some thing about this ?

When ever I read a news that a woman revolted in Kabul or Woman protested in Saudi Arabia I feel good. I celebrate.  Few quotes from the book.

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” 

Gosh I still feel a lacuna in my stomach when I read the above lines.
“A man's heart is a wretched, wretched thing. It isn't like a mother's womb. It won't bleed. It won't stretch to make room for you.”


Khaled Hosseini is my most favorite author till date. I love him and his books. Few other books did impact me but not as much as his books did. He is an Afghan born American novelist and physician.  I am eagerly waiting to lay my hands on his  next book And the Mountains Echoed . 

I love the below pashto (Iranian language) words I learnt.

  1. Khastagar - A  suitor , Khastegiri (meet arranged for the purpose of marriage)
  2. Nay - No
  3. Noor - light
  4. Dokhtar- Girl
  5. Fahmidi - Do you understand ?
  6. Agha - Respectful way of addressing a Man
  7. Jaan (we all know it but we don't frequently use it.) - Dear 
  8. Nang and Namos ( Honor and pride). I hated the contexts where ever these words are used.
  9. Tashakor - Thank you
  10. Zindagi Migzara - Life goes on

Few comment that it was a pain reading the books due to too many Pashto words but trust me the essence of the book was intact due to those words.  On a different note I was also advised to read"We Need to Talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. When I have enough mental strength I will pick this up. 

Sites refered: Wiki , Good reads and for images.

This is my 11th post for  "A to Z blogging Challenge 2013" !


  1. I cried so much reading The Kite Runner, I'm not sure I will any of his books again. But I know I will. Great choice of topic today, Afshan!

    1. First comment from U made my day Corinne :) Ya I too thought I wont read again But I cant do that :)
      Thank you

  2. I was in awe of Khaled Hosseini after reading a Thousand Splendid Suns. Its by far my Favorite book ! It really moved me !
    Lovely Poem Afsan !

    1. same here Ruchira !!
      I was never in such a posn where I couldnt start anthr book for long
      BTW thanks for liking my poem :)

  3. I have read it twice and still can


    1. I loved them!!
      But I doubt If I can read it again

  4. I was moved reading The Kite Runner and I feel the movie didn't do any justice to the intricate emotions the book had.
    Yet to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Shall pick it up soon now.

    1. Yep LOT was missed in the movie. The other one made me literally cry
      Do read it
      Thanks fr dropping by

  5. I have yet to read the Kite Runner though I have heard it is a masterpiece. Loved your poem - so poignant. Lovely post.

    1. THanks for loving my poem Suzy :)
      Yep do read them !

  6. I hv read it ages back dint enjoy it then... maybe i should reread!

    1. I dont think these books can be enjoyed. They can only be deeply felt I feel :)
      Do try reading once
      Thanks for dropping by Meena

  7. You just spoke my words! Khaled Hosseini is not just an author or a novelist.. He is the best thing that has happened to World Literature in a long long time... There are good authors, there are chick authors, there are breezy ones , there are horrible ones and then There is Mr Hosseini... standing tall among all, majestic and regal!

  8. The Kite Runner is the only book, in my entire life, till date that I had to put down after page 50 or so, even though I was loving every word of it. Just couldn't take it anymore! And I had to wait for an week to gather the courage to pick it up again... Raw, horrendous and dripping with a gripping reality that seems such a parallal universe... And dn't even start me on Thousand Splendid Suns... The book that I clutch to my heart till date!

    1. @CuppaNova : Thanks for commenting on blog ;) Now am gonna treasure it !
      yep 1000 splendid suns just made me cringe. I loved what ever U wrote because his books or not just the books !!

  9. I cried my heart out while I read The Kite Runner. Soo looking forward to his new book which is coming out this month. Have to read A Thousand Splendid Suns too, but people have warned me that I will go into a mourning phase if I take it up. But, someday I know, I will.

  10. @rachna : :) , @Akanksha : 1000 splendid suns is much more effective. Not sure as we r women or as its more unnerving to see many more facts getting unfolded. Read it one day though !

  11. I have'nt read the book. Looks interesting !loved the beatiful quotes. So much of depth in it.

  12. 2 of my most favourite books ever- ; thousand splendid suns still evokes a whole lot of emotions in my mind. The kite runner is a different league altogether. LOVEd this post afshan :)

  13. I still haven't read Kite Runner, but I want to. I'm just working up the nerve to read this sad story.

    Happy A to Z blogging.

  14. Khaled Hosseini's books touch you in a very special way. I could never get over Mariam's tale, it was so heart-breaking, to think that there are hundreds like her :(

    This post is special to me in many ways, thanks for writing it!

  15. wow!!! what a post Afshan. Never read Khaled Hosseini but now will try to read it asap. Will hunt for his books here and there. Nice post by the way.

    कभी यहाँ भी पधारें और लेखन भाने पर अनुसरण अथवा टिपण्णी के रूप में स्नेह प्रकट करने की कृपा करें |
    Tamashaezindagi FB Page

  16. @Diana musings : thanks for comment . Do read the book

    @Nandana : Yep the book just surprised me as I knew such world actually exists. Thank U

    @Tushar : Yep Thanks for dropping by and ya do read his books

    @Priya Sreeram : Thanks fr dropping by and commenting. Glad to know u too read them

    @S.L. Hennessy : Yep U shud need nerve to read it. Do read

  17. It's funny that before kids, I would have been affected more by A Thousand Splendid Sons. But, I read Kite Runner after my two kids and I was haunted by the rape scene, and I literally was shaking after that. Unfortunately, he is such a good writer that he painted a scene in front of me that took a long time to erase.

  18. That's the perfect choice for K, and there are so many Ks involved with it too!

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog:

  19. Reading The Kite Runner was a touching experience for me. And even though I have A THousand Splendid Suns, I can't bring myself to read it. I feel that I should just read THe KIte Runner one more time. Thank you for this post, Afshan.

  20. I can write only one thing about this post and about Khaled Hosseini......LOVE HIM/IT. I know it sounds cliche but i can't help it.

    This is too good to say anything. And your poem is great too.

  21. I cried when I read Kite Runner. It was that kind of a book. And I don't cry easily.

  22. I have loved reading both his books! I hope he is writing some more books!


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