Saturday, July 6, 2013

Speaker Series: Khaled Hosseini

On the second day of the conference I went to hear Khaled Hosseini speak.  Khaled Hosseini, of course, is the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.  His new book is And the Mountains Echoed.

Hosseini said that books were always a big part of his life.  There weren't any libraries in Afghanistan so he had to save money to buy them.  As a child the kids told stories to entertain each other, so Hosseini has been telling stories his whole life.  His family moved to Paris just before the upheaval and if they hadn't, his life would have been completely different.

Hosseini arrived in California when he was 15, speaking little English.  "By the time I figured everything out it was time to graduate."  He went to college and studied biology and went on to medical school.  I had no idea he had a science background!

And the Mountains Echoed is about injury, wounds, healing, and how we help each other.

The moderator asked Hosseini about the creation of his female characters.  Hosseini says he doesn't approach them any differently then any other character.  He tries to have empathy for all his characters.  It's when he tries to approach them differently that he gets into trouble.  Hosseini spends a lot of time with his characters in his head.  The more time spent with them the more real they become.  "When you know the heart of a character they can then become the point of the center of the circle everything radiates."  He tires to write his characters truthfully.  Hosseini said he worked harder on this book, and was harder on himself, then ever before.  He feels And the Mountains Echoed has more nuanced characters.  I have no doubt it will be excellent.

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