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The Kite Runner | Study Guide

Khaled Hosseini

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Khaled Hosseini | Biography


Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 4, 1965. Hosseini grew up in Kabul, which he describes in The Kite Runner as a cosmopolitan city with Western cultural influences, complicated ethnic and religious relationships, and rich traditions. Like Amir, Hosseini lived in a wealthy neighborhood of Kabul. His father was a diplomat for the Afghan Foreign Ministry, while his mother taught Farsi at a large high school in Kabul. He became interested in literature at a young age, especially Persian poetry, and started writing stories at about age nine.

Hosseini and his family moved to Iran for a brief period. They returned to Kabul in 1973, the year that the 40-year monarchy of King Zahir Shah was overthrown by his cousin Mohammad Daoud Khan (an incident that Amir experiences as well). Just after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, like Amir and Baba, Hosseini and his family moved to California in 1980. Although the teenager did not speak English at the time, Hosseini learned English by watching TV and listening to the radio. Hosseini says, "Virtually anybody associated with the previous regime was imprisoned, killed, rounded up, or disappeared. We would hear news of friends and occasionally family members to whom that had happened, that were either in prison or worse, had just disappeared and nobody knew where they were, and some never turned up."

After high school Hosseini attended Santa Clara University and graduated with a degree in biology in 1988. He received a medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, in 1993. While performing his full-time duties as a doctor, Hosseini would get up early in the morning and write for three or four hours before going to work. He expanded a short story into The Kite Runner, his first novel. He practiced internal medicine for 10 years but then retired to focus on a writing career.

After The Kite Runner was published in 2003, it became an international best seller in at least 70 countries, and it was made into a feature film. In 2007 A Thousand Splendid Suns was published and sold over one million copies in its first week. This success led to Columbia Pictures purchasing the movie rights and to the 2013 publication of a third novel, And the Mountains Echoed.

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