What will author of 'The Kite Runner' tell folks in Chapel Hill?
What will the world’s most famous Afghani tell people in Chapel Hill about his thoughts on President Barack Obama’s plans to reduce the U.S. troop level in Afghanistan to 9,800 by the end of 2014?
The famous Afghani is Khaled Hosseini, author of the bestselling, and now classic, “The Kite Runner,” as well as “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” and his most recent, “And the Mountains Echoed.” All three are deeply entwined with the recent history of Afghanistan. For many Americans, Hosseini’s fiction has been their most reliable guide to the country’s rich and complicated heritage and its tragic disintegration in civil war and invasion.
We can ask about Obama’s plans and other matters about Afghanistan when Hosseini comes to Chapel Hill High School’s Haynes Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to launch the paperback edition of “And the Mountains Echoed.” The event is sponsored by Flyleaf Books.
In anticipating Obama’s planned drawdown of forces, Hosseini recently spoke about the future of his native county, “I think the next few years will be a time of uncertainty and anxiety in Afghanistan, probably marked by continued political instability and spikes of violence, even as the country moves slowly and gradually toward some form of peace negotiations with the insurgents. The path to peace promises to be a treacherous one, as there is no clear leadership structure on the Taliban side, and the conditions each party will bring to the table are likely to create, at least for some time, a series of impasses. This is not to mention that foreign neighboring powers will have their own stakes and agendas in the process and are likely to exert their influence to ensure an outcome favorable to their own interests.
“All this said, I am still cautiously optimistic that peace is a possibility in Afghanistan. Though I do fear — with the withdrawal of the West — a return to the chaos and ethnic civil wars of the 1990s, I am also hopeful that important lessons have been learned from that catastrophe and that the various factions have come to see the dividends of peace.”
Hosseini’s readers will also want to hear him talk about “And the Mountains Echoed” and how he came to write it. In The New York Times, reviewer Michiko Kakutani wrote that the latest book is Hosseini’s “most assured and emotionally gripping story yet, more fluent and ambitious than ‘The Kite Runner’ more narratively complex than ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns.’”
The book begins about 1950 in a small village near Kabul where 10-year-old Abdullah dotes on his 3-year-old sister Pari. But their family is poverty-stricken and their father gives Pari to a wealthy couple in Kabul. Abdullah and Pari lose contact completely until 2010 when they are brought together in California. What happens to them, their families and the people they meet in Kabul, Paris, Greece, and California are the threads that Hosseini’s story-telling talent weaves into a beautiful and moving tapestry of a story.
Time: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Place: Chapel Hill High School’s Haynes Auditorium
Tickets: It is a ticketed event. For tickets or more information, contact Flyleaf Books, (919) 942-7936, or visit www.flyleafbooks.com
D.G. Martin’s regular weekly column appears on The Herald-Sun’s editorial page Wednesdays and online at http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/opinioncolumnists/martin.