Explain the success of Khaled Hosseini in giving us a picture of events in Afhganistan through three decades of A Thousand Splendid Suns.
How does he relate the historical events in the novel to the life of the characters?
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Afghani-born author Khaled Hosseini spent much of his youth in Afghanistan and neighboring Iran. He was born in Kabul and spent most of his life there and in Tehran, Iran before his family moved to Paris in 1976. The son of an Afghan diplomat, Hosseini understood the politics of the region and became a learned student of Afghan and Persian literature. Although he witnessed the Russian takeover of his native country from France and, later, California, he had first-hand knowledge of the situation through his father's dealings.
Hosseini became friends with a Hazari teacher while living in Iran, and this relationship helped him greatly when he wrote about this persecuted ethnic group in his first novel, The Kite Runner. The fact that The Kite Runner was the very first novel ever written by an Afghan native in English testifies to Hosseini's unique position to write about the events of his native land. The novel was also one of the first to explore the events of the 9/11 attacks on American soil.
This perspective carried over to A Thousand Splendid Suns. Perhaps no two novels of fiction have ever given Americans a truer view of life and the political strife that ravaged his homeland. Both novels serve as guidebooks to late 20th century life in Afghanistan, and the author continues to serve his country as an ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an organization that helps refugees who have been forced to flee from their native countries.
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