I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know here, but Khaled Hosseini is one hell of a writer. I loved The Kite Runner, but when I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, I thought, “Holy bananas. This guy is for real.” He weaves amazing characters with imaginative stories in breathtakingly simple prose. And he has the ability to sneak up on me, emotionally. For example, I’m nearing the end of his newest tome, the lyrical And the Mountains Echoed, and he hits me with this:
Many years later, when I began training as a plastic surgeon, I understood something that I had not that day in the kitchen arguing for Thalia to leave Timos for the boarding school. I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that. My patients knew this. They saw that much of what they were, would be, or could be hinged on the symmetry of their bone structure, the space between their eyes, their chin length, the tip projection of their nose, whether they had an ideal nasofrontal angle or not.
Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.
And so I chose my specialty to even out the odds for people like Thalia, to rectify, with each slice of my scalpel, an arbitrary injustice, to make a small stand against a world order I found disgraceful, one in which a dog bite could rob a little girl of her future, maker her an outcast, an object of scorn.
I can’t wait to read his next one.