Once in a while you meet a book that offers you a new perspective. And although it may mercilessly play with your physchology and tear your heart to pieces, you are thankful for it.
The first book I read by Khaled Hossieni, The Kite Runner, was just such a story. And now he has done it again. Just as with The Kite Runner, I finished A Thousand Splendid Suns within two days of beginning. Life had to pause until I was done.
Not only is Hossieni a master storyteller, his books offer a personal look into Afghanistan, a hot button topic in American politics. Through reading books by Hossieni, Afghanistan becomes less and less a political issue and more and more thousands of tired, war torn faces. Behind the politics are children, newly orphaned by bombs. You catch glimpses of educated and previously ambitious women who are now hidden behind veils and impossibly unfair laws. You meet once capable youth whose spirits are down after losing limbs to misaimed rockets. You sympathize with refugees, who give up everything they own, forced to leave their homeland with broken hearts.
Not only did I learn a lot of terribly sad history, I developed more understanding of a people and of a problem. It left me heart broken.
While reading The Kite Runner I had to take breaks to just sit dazed and horrified. After finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns I ate dinner then returned to my room to just sit and cry for a while. I weeped for people I’ve never met whose language I do not understand and religion I do not believe in. I cried and prayed for them. That is the power of a very special book.
Hossieni’s books are impactful; I belive it will take me a long time to recover, and frankly I don’t want to. I hope the deep gratitude I suddenly possess for living in a peaceful and free nation will linger for the rest of my life. And more importantly, I hope the loss and heart break I feel for lands and peoples far away never fades. I hope God allows this impact to remain with me always, so that I never forget to pray.