Khaled Hosseini: A Gifted Writer

May 11, 2014 10:18 am

Like a good scotch or whisky, Khaled Hosseini gets better with age.

With the publication of And The Mountains Echoed, Hosseini has now published three books. His first book, The Kite Runner was adapted both into a film and a graphic novel (the latter by Hosseini himself), It follows the story of Amir who leaves Afghanistan at a young age, returning from America, years later, in the hopes of appeasing his guilt and helping the friend he left behind. Hosseini’s second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns turns its gaze towards the trials and endeavours of women in Afghanistan. It spans across many years, telling the intertwined stories of two very different girls who are eventually brought together where they develop a strong emotional bond that must endure against the trials of war and violence within the context of their country.

Speaking personally, I found that A Thousand Splendid Suns improved upon the foundations Hosseini had set in his first book; it is an emotional roller coaster and a work of storytelling genius. Hosseini writes characters that you love; you want them to win, you want them to survive, and anything less is heartbreaking. The relationships he creates, both the good and the bad, are believable and enjoyable to read. The author who writes a popular first book often finds it difficult to meet its excellence in their next book, but I have found that Hosseini not simply meets the excellence of The Kite Runner, he surpasses it. khaled hosseini

I don’t like to say that I have a favourite book, not many ‘book-a-holics’ do, but if I had to choose, I would say that out of all my favourites, A Thousand Splendid Suns would be the best of them. At least, that’s what I would have said a month ago. Now I’m a little stuck.

As I suggested at the very beginning, Khaled Hosseini gets better with age, and I would therefore suggest that And The Mountains Echoed surpasses both his previous books. He takes all the best qualities of his earlier writing and combines them in his latest book, that is centered round a single event which then affects a compilation of different characters across different countries and entire lifetimes. He begins the book with a bedtime story, narrated and directed towards both characters inside the book and the reader. Each chapter that follows is a different person’s story; some stories last a few a months, some span nearly an entire lifetime, all of them are centered around a past or future connection to what I will call ‘the event’ so as to keep this as spoiler free as possible. In each chapter we experience the emotional journey that each character makes; each story (a story-within-a-story, so to speak) has a beginning and an ending, laced with sadness and happiness, tragedy and love, all leading towards the final pages where the reader hopes for the conclusion of the initial event. Hosseini takes storytelling and makes it an art. khaled hoeissini

Hosseini has developed his skill of storytelling over the course of his books, but he has also developed upon his ability to write emotionally, and, And The Mountains Echoed contains a raw emotional power that builds upon his earlier foundations of writing, capturing the reader utterly and completely. The Kite Runner has left me sitting on the edge of my seat, hand over mouth in shock. A Thousand Splendid Suns has left me in tears, every time I’ve read it. But by the end of And The Mountains Echoed I was not just crying… I was sobbing. Hosseini shapes his characters and their story in an emotionally real and engaging way that has improved with each book he has written and I have felt real emotion for the characters in his books. Hosseini’s genius is that he makes you, the reader, emotionally invest in his characters; you want them to succeed; it is your journey as much as it is theirs.

And The Mountain Echoed begins thus; ‘So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one’. And so Hosseini tells his story, and you never truly want it to end, because every story, every book he writes, pulls you well and truly inside of itself, deep within its covers.

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