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Khaled Hosseini (1965-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1965, in Kabul, Afghanistan; immigrated to the United States, 1980; Education: Santa Clara University, B.A. (biology), 1988; University of San Diego, M.D., 1993. Hobbies and other interests: Soccer, racquetball, writing, involved in charities Paralyzed Vets of America and Aid the Afghan Children.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Riverhead Books, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

Career

Practicing physician specializing in internal medicine, 1996–; The Permanente Medical Group, Mountain View, CA, physician, beginning 1999.

Honors Awards

Original Voices Award, Borders Group, and Alex Award, YALSA, both 2004, both for The Kite Runner.

Writings

The Kite Runner, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Adaptations

The Kite Runner was adapted for audio, read by the author, Simon & Schuster, 2003, and was slated for adaptation as a feature film to be produced by Dreamworks.

Sidelights

Khaled Hosseini's debut novel, The Kite Runner, spans four decades and returns readers to pre-Soviet Afghanistan. The tale is narrated by Amir, an adult writer living in California. Amir's story recalls his childhood in Kabul, when the quiet, motherless boy yearns for attention from his successful father, Bapa, but finds a friend in Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Amir resents sharing his father's affection with the loyal and talented Hassan, but when Amir wins a kite-flying contest, his father finally gives him the praise he craves. In that single incident, however, he also loses Hassan, who is attacked and raped by Assef, the town bully, while attempting to retrieve a downed kite. Because of his feelings of guilt for not helping his friend, Amir pushes Hassan away, even accusing his former friend of theft. Years later, an associate of Amir's now-deceased father, who knows the history of Amir and Hassan, calls from Pakistan. He tells Amir that Hassan and Hassan's wife have been executed by the terrorist Taliban, leaving their son, Sohrab, orphaned and without care. Realizing that he owes a debt to Hassan, Amir returns to Afghanistan to find Sohrab, only to come across the boy in the custody of the criminal Assef.

Reviewing The Kite Runner in the New York Times Book Review, Edward Hower wrote that "Hosseini's depiction of pre-revolutionary Afghanistan is rich in warmth and humor but also tense with the friction between the nation's different ethnic groups." The critic added that the story "turns dark when Hosseini describes the suffering of his country under the tyranny of the Taliban.… The final third of the book is full of haunting images." School Library Journal reviewer Penny Stevens called The Kite Runner a "beautifully written first novel," and a Publishers Weekly contributor dubbed it "stunning," adding that "it is rare that a book is at once so timely and of such high literary quality."

While fiction, The Kite Runner draws on parts of its author's own past. Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, the son of a diplomat whose wife, Hosseini's mother, taught Farsi and history at a private girls' school in the city. In 1976 the family was relocated to Paris, France, where Hosseini's father was assigned to the Afghan embassy, and they remained there until 1980. Because of the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan following a bloody military coup, the Hosseini family was granted political asylum in the United States, and they made a new home for themselves in San Jose, California. By leaving Afghanistan, Hosseini's parents were forced to leave everything they owned behind, and the family relied on welfare until the author's father and mother were able to get back on their feet. Self-reliant and determined due to his childhood experiences, Hosseini attended college and became a physician; while working and raising his family of two children, he also tapped into a lifelong love of writing by penning The Kite Runner.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2003, Kristine Huntley, review of The Kite Runner, p. 1864.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 630.

Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Rebecca Stuhr, review of The Kite Runner, p. 122; November 15, 2003, Michael Adams, review of The Kite Runner (audio version), p.114.

New York Times Book Review, August 3, 2003, Edward Hower, review of The Kite Runner, p. 4.

Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 43.

School Library Journal, November, 2003, Penny Stevens, review of The Kite Runner, p. 171.

Times (London, England), August 30, 2003, review of The Kite Runner, p. 17.

ONLINE

Khaled Hosseini Home Page, http://www.khaledhosseini.com/ (January 13, 2005).

National Public Radio Web site, http://www.npr.org/ (July 27, 2003), Liane Hansen, Weekend Edition Sunday interview with Hosseini.*

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - Personal