Barnes & Noble interview with Khaled Hosseini
(Page 6 of 9)
Those passages in The Kite Runner, in the middle of the book, were written over a very, very short period of time -- two or three weeks at most -- and the chapters almost flew right out of me. That's partly because what they detail is so closely related to my own experience of living as an Afghan in exile here in the Bay Area. Also, in my encounters with the Afghan community here, I met people from two ends of a spectrum. There are those who acknowledged the change in their realities and decided to make the best of it, passing the baton on to the next generation; they saw their lives now defined not by what they could do for themselves but rather what they could do for their children (which was pretty much my parents' approach). At the other end of the spectrum were people who just could never let go, people who became defeated by their new circumstances, who became depressed, who became more withdrawn, more recalcitrant, more resistant to change, who clung to what they once had with increasing zeal; among these were people who clung to the hope that Afghanistan would finally emerge from the darkness, that it would somehow magically become again what it had been in the '70s, and that they would one day be able to return and slip right back into their old identities. The character who represents this view in The Kite Runner, obviously, is the General.Skip to next paragraph
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So yes, I think that little section of The Kite Runner is probably closer to my actual life than any other section in the novel.
JM: It's very powerful. It has haunted my imagination for some time.
KH: Thank you.
JM: You've said that one of your intentions in your second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was to help "breathe life, depth, and emotional subtext into the two-dimensional image of the Afghan woman in a burqa walking down the street."
JM: I was reminded of that by the article you wrote a few weeks ago, for the Washington Post, about the tenor of the presidential campaign [Editor's note: This interview took place a week before the election]. That piece begins, "I prefer to discuss politics through my novels, but I am truly dismayed these days. Twice last week alone, speakers at McCain-Palin rallies have referred to Senator Barack Obama, with unveiled scorn, as Barack Hussein Obama." You go on to discuss what you saw as the Republican candidates' lack of moral courage, evidenced by their failure to denounce such fomenting of prejudice and division. You ask of Senator McCain and Governor Palin, "Do they not understand the kind of fire they are playing with?" In light of your own experience, you recognized great danger where participants in the rallies, and the candidates themselves perhaps, saw only a kind of high-spirited rabble-rousing.