Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “The Kite Runner”

Khaled Hosseini Revisited

I realize that I just posted about Khaled Hosseini a few weeks ago. The difference is that I have just finished his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

The novel is as compelling as The Kite Runner. Whereas The Kite Runner focuses more upon the relationship between two boys/men, A Thousand Splendid Suns brings out the way women are treated and, in particular, describes the relationship between two women.

Moreover, A Thousand Splendid Suns provides a clearer history lesson of Afghanistan. Not that I think this is the point of the novel, but I found it a welcomed addition.

Last week I met someone who’s daughter works with Hosseini. I know it is barely six degrees, but I was excited to not only hear about his foundation, but also a bit about him.

Khaled Hosseini doesn’t only write to highlight the plight of his people, he is doing something to help raise the awareness and find sustainable solutions. He deserves to have his his books read. He deserves to be heard.

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

his article

kite runner

When Fiction Can Help Us Better Understand The World

It’s been a few weeks since I finished reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Amir and Hassan are still with me and I pay more attention when Afghanistan is mentioned, as it is too often unfortunately in our news.

But this is my point. Those of us who even bother these days to listen to the news on the radio, watch it on TV, or open a newspaper (paper or on-line), quickly become desensitized to a topic that is consistently appearing, especially if it is something that either we know little about from the beginning, or that little impact on our personal everyday life.

Afghanistan for me, prior to the war was a vague mountainous region where some tribes seemed able to prevent the powerful Soviet army from conquering it. That was about it.

Now, having read The Kite Runner, my ears perk up when the news mentions Afghanistan. I know what a Hazara is. I understand the NPR reporter’s language when he recounted how different ethnic groups were responding to the election.

This was all made possible for me by reading a fictional account of the land, history, people and culture. I am going to assume that Khaled Hosseini is painting a fairly accurate picture of Afghan society as he sees it. I cannot assume more.

But fiction can play an important part in providing understanding and awareness of what is taking place in the world. Perhaps it can also help provide a desire to demand and work for a sustainable future for, in this case, Afghanistan.

——————————————————————————————————

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: