Is 'The Kite Runner' Khaled Hosseini's autobiography?
No, it is not, although Hosseini's Afghan roots and his immigration to the United States are important points in common. Check out the references below, including a biographical profile of this very "in" author.
Also, read what Hosseini has to say about the background for 'The Kite Runner' and how his profession as a physician influences his writing:
I put down Mrs CR's chart and dialed my answering machine. It was my father-in-law, telling me he had loved my short story, "The Kite Runner," but wished it had been longer. At some point between the instant I put down the receiver and the moment I knocked on the door to tell Mrs CR about her diabetic nephropathy, a seed planted itself in my mind: I was going to turn "The Kite Runner" into a novel.
And so it began. For the next 15 months, I tapped away at the keyboard. I created a troubled, 12-year-old boy named Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy Pashtun merchant living in Kabul, Afghanistan, circa 1975, and his angelic friend Hassan, a minority Hazara and the son of Amir's crippled servant. I developed a deep and unusual friendship between the boys, only to make Amir betray Hassan in an unspeakable way. I shattered the boy's lives. I watched the brutalised Hassan pay the price for his guileless devotion to Amir, and watched Amir grow into a brooding, haunted, guilt-ridden man in the USA. Then I sent Amir back to Kabul, now ruled by the Taliban, on one last desperate quest for redemption. In June, 2002, The Kite Runner was completed.
And if there is one thing we doctors have been trained for, it's getting by with less than ideal hours of sleep. So for 15 months, I woke up at 0500 h, drank cupfuls of black coffee, and created the world of Amir and Hassan. Luckily for me, the soulful early morning hours coincided with my creative time.
A writer, like a doctor, has to be a good listener and observer. Whereas a doctor listens to learn about his or her patient, a writer listens and observes to learn about nuances of dialogue, body language, and the peculiar verbal and non-verbal ways in which people express themselves. My medical practice provides me with ample opportunity for this sort of observation, since in a typical working day, I sit and listen to some 20 stories, all told in unique voices. I listen to them as a doctor and observe them as a writer. Furthermore, it's essential in both crafts to develop some insight into human nature. Writers and physicians need to understand to some extent the motivations behind behaviour and appreciate how such things as a person's upbringing, their culture, their biases, shape that person, whether it be a patient or a character in a story.
Source: Khaled Hosseini, "Khaled Hosseini: Physician writers," in Lancet, Vol. 362, No. 9388, September 20, 2003, p. 1003.