Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini
  • Born: March 4, 1965
  • Nationality: Afghan
  • Profession: Novelist

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A Western-style democracy in Afghanistan is a dream. I don't see that as a reality anytime soon. But I think some form of representative political process is not that far-fetched.
Afghan women, as a group, I think their suffering has been equaled by very few other groups in recent world history. Women ;History
Afghanistan is a rural nation, where 85 percent of people live in the countryside. And out there it's very, very conservative, very tribal - almost medieval.
All stories I write are compulsive. Anything I've ever written was because I don't have a choice. I write stories because I can't wait to tell it, I can't wait to see how it ends.
American high school culture was impenetrable to me, and very cliquey: you had the Hispanics, the African Americans, the surfer guys and the goths and the immigrants. The jocks and the surfers got the girls. By the time I'd got to grips with it, I'd graduated. Time
Economic chasm between people is something that is of interest to me. And something that I used to write about even as a child. It's something I've revisited a few times in my writings.
Everyone is an ocean inside. Every individual walking the street. Everyone is a universe of thoughts, and insights, and feelings. But every person is crippled in his or her own way by our inability to truly present ourselves to the world.
For a novelist, it's kind of an onerous burden to represent an entire culture.
For me as a writer, the story has always taken precedence over everything else. I have never sat down to write with broad, sweeping ideas in mind, and certainly never with a specific agenda.
I am always revolted when Islamic leaders, from Afghanistan or elsewhere, deny the very existence of female oppression, avoid the issue by pointing to examples of what they view as Western mistreatment of women, or even worse, justify the oppression of women on the basis of notions derived from Sharia law. Women
I don't listen to music when I write - I find it distracting. Music, Chants & Rapps
I don't outline at all; I don't find it useful, and I don't like the way it boxes me in. I like the element of surprise and spontaneity, of letting the story find its own way.
I don't think she is underappreciated, certainly not among writers, but Alice Munro is the classic underappreciated writer among readers. It is almost a cliche now to wonder why this living legend is not more widely read.
I entered the literary world, really, from outside. My entire background has been in sciences; I was a biology major in college, then went to medical school. I've never had any formal training in writing. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I find myself drawn to that period where children are about to leave childhood behind. When you're 12 years old, you still have one foot in childhood; the other is poised to enter a completely new stage of life. Your innocent understanding of the world moves towards something messier and more complicated, and once it does you can never go back. Life
I give novels as gifts, and there is nothing I like to receive more as a gift.
I grew up in a society with a very ancient and strong oral storytelling tradition. I was told stories, as a child, by my grandmother, and my father as well. Society
I have a particular disdain for Islamic extremism, and of course, in both 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' that's obvious.
I have met so many people who say they've got a book in them, but they've never written a word. To be a writer - this may seem trite, I realize - you have to actually write.
I have this almost pathological fear of boring the reader.
I lay no claim, it should be clear, to being a historian. So in my books, the intimate and personal have been intertwined inextricably with the broad and historical.
I read actual physical books and have thus far avoided the electronic lure.
I remember reading 'The Grapes of Wrath' in high school in 1983. My family had immigrated to the U.S. three years before, and I had spent the better part of the first two years learning English. John Steinbeck's book was the first book I read in English where I had an 'Aha!' moment, namely in the famed turtle chapter. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Families, Children & Parenting
I spent a lot of winters in my childhood flying kites with my brother, with my cousins, with friends in the neighborhood. It's what we did in the winter. Schools close down. There was not much to do.
I think that to fully appreciate baseball, it helps to have been born in the U.S.
I think the emancipation of women in Afghanistan has to come from inside, through Afghans themselves, gradually, over time. Time ;Women
I was good at being a doctor; my patients liked me. At times people trust you with things they wouldn't tell their spouses. It was a real privilege. Trust
I will say that there is an inordinate amount of medicine in my novels, especially the first one. There are a lot of medical things that happen. A hip fracture, three different kinds of lung cancer, pneumonia, blood poisoning, and so on. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
I'm a pretty uncomplicated person. I live a very simple life with my family and I enjoy very ordinary things. Life ;Families, Children & Parenting
In Afghan society, parents play a central role in the lives of their children; the parent-child relationship is fundamental to who you are and what you become and how you perceive yourself, and it is laden with contradictions, with tension, with anger, with love, with loathing, with angst. Society ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
In Afghanistan, you don't understand yourself solely as an individual. You understand yourself as a son, a brother, a cousin to somebody, an uncle to somebody. You are part of something bigger than yourself.
In many parts of the world, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. But I think we need women to solve the problems that men create. Women
It's a very nice kind of quasi-fame being a writer, because you remain largely anonymous and you can have a private life, which I really cherish. I don't like to be in the public light all that much. I don't crave the whole fame thing at all. Life
I've been told, and I think I recognize it, that there's a cinematic quality to my writing, with a sense of image and place and scene - and, some would say, my tendency to finish my books the way Hollywood finishes its films.
Kabul was very popular with the hippies in the Sixties and Seventies. It was very quiet and peaceful.
Life just doesn't care about our aspirations, or sadness. It's often random, and it's often stupid and it's often completely unexpected, and the closures and the epiphanies and revelations we end up receiving from life, begrudgingly, rarely turn out to be the ones we thought. Life
Literary fiction is kept alive by women. Women read more fiction, period. Women
My books are about ordinary people, like you, me, people on the street, people who really have an expectation of reasonable happiness in life, want their life to have a sense of security and predictability, who want to belong to something bigger than them, who want love and affection in their life, who want a good future for the children. Life ;Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness
My books are love stories at core, really. But I am interested in manifestations of love beyond the traditional romantic notion. In fact, I seem not particularly inclined to write romantic love as a narrative motive or as an easy source of happiness for my characters. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Happiness & Unhappiness ;Romantic
My memories of Kabul are vastly different than the way it is when I go there now. My memories are of the final years before everything changed. When I grew up in Kabul, it couldn't be mistaken for Beirut or Tehran, as it was still in a country that's essentially religious and conservative, but it was suprisingly progressive and liberal.
My wife is my in-home editor and reads everything I write.
Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions. Life ;Time
People find meaning and redemption in the most unusual human connections.
Reading is an active, imaginative act; it takes work. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The bewildering success of my books continues to surprise me. Success
The difficulty of writing a second novel is directly proportional to how successful the first novel was, it seems.
The experience of writing 'The Kite Runner' is one I will always think back on with fondness. There is an energy, a romance in writing the first novel that can never be duplicated again.
The only two places where I can read for long stretches are in airplanes and in bed at nighttime.
The Taliban's acts of cultural vandalism - the most infamous being the destruction of the giant Bamiyan Buddhas - had a devastating effect on Afghan culture and the artistic scene. The Taliban burned countless films, VCRs, music tapes, books, and paintings. They jailed filmmakers, musicians, painters, and sculptors. Music, Chants & Rapps
There isn't, even now, a great tradition of novel-writing in Afghanistan. Most of the literature is in the form of poetry. Literature, Writers & Writing
There's nothing easy about writing. It's always difficult. It's always a struggle.
To me, families are puzzles that take a lifetime to work out - or not, as often is the case - and I like to explore how people within them try to connect, be it through love, duty, or circumstance. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Ultimately, my books are not about the politics, although the toil and the struggle and the wars in Afghanistan have a significant impact on the lives of my characters. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Usually in films, when Muslims pray, it's either before or after they've blown something up.
Whatever the readers feel when they're reading my books, I feel it tenfold when I'm writing it.
When I go to Afghanistan, I realize I've been spared, due to a random genetic lottery, by being born to people who had the means to get out. Every time I go to Afghanistan I am haunted by that. Time
Writing for me is largely about rewriting.
You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen - it becomes distorted, and it's been diminished. Time