Friday, July 12, 2013

Read Alike: Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini came to prominence with the publication of his haunting debut novel, The Kite Runner. A character-driven story of the turbulent history of modern Afghanistan, the country of Hosseini's birth. His writing was a revelation to many American readers, familiar with Afghanistan primarily for terrorist attacks and the recent war.

In his most recent novel, And the Mountains Echoed, Hosseini returns to Afghanistan with a thought-provoking family saga. He explores the connections of family and love as his characters scatter over the globe, resulting in a more uplifting story than his earlier books.

You can read more about Hosseini and his writing at his website: khaledhosseini.com

If you've already read all of Khaled Hosseini's novels, or if you're patiently waiting to read a copy of And the Mountains Echoed, you might enjoy checking out some of these titles:

The Mulberry Empire, or, The two virtuous journeys of the Amir Dost by Philip Hensher
This sweeping historical novel provides a richly detailed look into Afghanistan's past. In 1839 the British set out to change Afghanistan's leadership through military might, and were soundly defeated. Though not a family saga, Hensher uses a large cast of characters to illustrate the wide-ranging and long-lasting effects of the British campaign.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Pakistani-American Mohsin Hamid's books tackle the experiences of Muslims in the modern world in a similarly character-driven and thoughtful way to Khaled Hosseini. The power of relationships is another shared theme, though his writing style is somewhat more experimental. Try The Reluctant Fundamentalist, the events of September 11th have a major impact on the life of Changez, an Ivy-league educated Pakistani-American. Or his most recent novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, which is modeled on the upbeat tone of self-help advice books, while telling an unconventional rags-to-riches love story.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani
Delijani’s haunting first novel is an intricately plotted, multigenerational tale of Iran’s often violent revolution. Delijani herself was born in one of Tehran’s Evin prison, and her family’s experience informs her writing. A sobering story told from multiple perspectives that rewards the attentive reader. The intricate plot and story of political unrest told through the lens of family scattered across the globe makes this a strong match for fans of Hosseini's latest.

More recent novels on the immigrant experience:
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
A skillful debut novel that skillfully examines the cultural melting pot of New York City in the late 19th century with a supernatural twist. Atmospheric and lyrical, with a touch of mystery and romance, Wecker charms the reader with her tale of outsiders, community, and friendship. Chava is a newly created and now masterless golem, Ahmad is an ancient jinni who cannot remember how he came to be trapped in a lamp for centuries.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie is one of the rising stars of literature, and her lyrical, character-driven writing draws heavily from her experience as a Nigerian-American. In her most recent novel, Americanah, is a witty story of love and immigration. Ifemelu left Nigeria and her sweetheart, Obinze, fifteen years ago to pursue a career in America. Obinze also left Nigeria, but to struggle as an undocumented worker in London.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
Bulawayo’s distinctive voice shines in her character-driven debut novel. This haunting story follows Darling, whose life in a Zimbabwean shantytown is perhaps less difficult than her move to live with her aunt in Michigan. Often bleak and violent, this book is not an easy read, but Bulawayo rewards the ambitious reader with her skill and insight.

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
Debut novelist Taiye Selasi explores her father’s homeland in her reflective novel, Ghana Must Go. An intricately plotted and leisurely paced novel of family that has critics making comparisons to Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith. A family fractured by divorce, gathers in Accra for the funeral of the surgeon patriarch who abandoned them 16 years ago.


Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!

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