‘Kite Runner’ Author Reaches Out
He finished moving from one house to another at midnight and took a flight from the Bay Area to Orange County at five in the morning the following day. Casually dressed with an approachable and humble aura around him, New York Times bestselling Author Khaled Hosseini candidly explained, ‘It was a choice between meeting interesting students or unpacking boxes.’
The Social Science Dean’s Ambassadors Council and the UCI Bookstore hosted a ‘Book Talk’ for students and community members on Friday, May 20 at noon in the Social Science Lecture Hall. Following the lecture was a book signing and reception where guests were able to personally meet and discover the motivations that inspired a medical doctor to publish his first novel, ‘The Kite Runner.’
‘I read the book this past summer and discussed it with Nemat Sadat [a member of the Ambassadors Council] because it was about Afghanistan and his family is from there, too,’ said Ellen Schlosser, advisor for the Ambassadors Council. ‘Nemat being [Hosseini’s] ‘cousin,’ contacted him informally. We are honored to have him here with us.’
‘We Afghans consider every other one of us a ‘cousin,” Hosseini said before a lecture hall filled with a laughing audience. ‘What television is to Americans, genealogy is to Afghans. It’s what we do when we get together. We love to know who’s related to whom.’
‘The Kite Runner’ maps the journey of Amir, a boy who belongs to an upper-class family in Kabul, and Hassan, his servant’s son. Breaking away from all dichotomies that society has created around them, such as class distinction, Shi’a-Sunni sects of Islam and literacy and illiteracy, Amir and Hassan manage to maintain this unlikely friendship until one of them decides to betray the other.
During the lecture, Hosseini professed a desire to ‘hear people’s reactions, both good and bad, to the book.’
However, first he answered what he said are the two most popular questions asked: How autobiographical the book was and what motivated him to choose the subject he did.
‘The childhood and upbringing of Amir [is] very similar to mine. We both belonged to the upper class,’ answered Hosseini, before he went on to explain that the subject of the novel came to him easily as he started writing a short story about the friendship of two boys, which later evolved into a novel.
After hearing Hosseini speak, Natasha Ahsan, a fourth-year criminology, law and society major who saw the novel at a bookstore and loved it, said ‘He seems [to be] a genuine, down-to-earth kind of guy. He has a charismatic personality. The book was relevant to me even though I’m not from Afghanistan.’
‘The Kite Runner,’ a deeply layered novel, not only discusses issues of friendship but also explores the cultural heritage of Afghanistan.
‘I remember flying kites as a child in Afghanistan