Thursday, August 02, 2007

:: how one author has soared my spirits ::

i bought "a thousand splendid suns" slightly more than a month ago - when i was back home in singapore. my plan was to read it immediately, so that i do not have to bring it back to the netherlands as my collection of books and magazines here have already warrant a container-cargo load on its own.

but circumstances back home did not permit, i had a funeral in the family, taking care of my mid-year errands (especially taxes - car insurance, road, housing, etc) and of course, the so-called "great singapore sale".

however, i digress.

i was aware of khaled hosseini's success with his first book, "the kite runner" - but it was only after 4 years after its released that i finally bought it. blame border bookstore's 3 for 2 book sales (when i do books, i hardly do them solo). i bought that book with me for my weekend trip to brugge, belgium - and in that same weekend, i was hooked. all i remember from the train ride from den haag to brugge was that i just had to make a quick train change in brussels, i was ravaging pages after pages of that book until i reached the hotel.

i finally completed 'splendid suns' last night - after 3 long nights before that, which has made me sick with fever and cough (i am still sick today and working from home).

as expected, khaled did not disappoint. it was haunting and riveting - i could not stop thinking about the characters in the book, the what-ifs questions, and at times made my heart soar 'till it lulled me to sleep.

yes, i know that these are work of fiction. but never before, have i been thinking about the people of Afghanistan until i read his books. i also learned more about its geography, wonderous history, its social-cultural aspects and religious/ethic factions of that country, years of wars until now - i often wonder about the lives of the people there.

khaled's books have appealed to that empty crevices within me. he did not preach nor politicise about the war, hunger, anarchy and oppression in afghanistan - he was just telling a story, that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of that country in intimate, human terms.

i have to be honest about my attitude about afghanistan since i knew about her existence (during the cold war) - and that was i could not be bothered. i am glad that his books are bestsellers in many parts of the world, many people like me, are becoming more aware of the humanitarian issues facing the our very own planet. as a US envoy for UNHCR, the UN refuge agency, khaled has been championing this plight and have opened up million pairs of eyes to this worthy cause.

i would strongly recommend to read his books for anyone who seeks to find something so powerful that will make them discover the joys of reading again. his stories are harrowing yet exhilarating, stunning and heartbreaking and devastating yet inspiring.

you are bounded to be moved, even with the hardest of hearts - i can assure you that. my bedtime playlist in my iPod now is the audio book of "the kite runner" read by khaled himself.

and yes, there will be a movie soon, but read the book in the meanwhile!

ps: i'm a lousy book reviewer, there are loads online - just goggle it. my brain has been trained so much to write about 'facts' that it has lost much of its ability to write artistically.

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