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A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

On Christmas Day in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, securing Kabul within two days and remaining for a nine-year war with anti-government insurgents. During the time of the initial invasion, Afghani born Khaled Hosseini was living in Paris, France, where his father worked at a diplomatic post at the Afghan Embassy. When Hosseini and his family returned to their home country in 1980, they found the landscape violently changed and found themselves in need of political asylum in the United States.

In 2003, Hosseini revisited the place of his birth for the first time in nearly 27 years. "I returned to Afghanistan because I had a deep longing to see for myself how people lived, what they thought of their government, how optimistic they were about the future of their homeland," he said. "I was overwhelmed with the kindness of people and found that they had managed to retain their dignity, their pride, and their hospitality under unspeakably bleak conditions." In Hosseini's gripping novels, their voices rise strong and clear above the clash of violence.

"For many people in the west, Afghanistan is synonymous with the Soviet war and the Taliban. I wanted to remind people that Afghans had managed to live in peaceful anonymity for decades, that the history of the Afghans in the 20th century has been largely pacific and harmonious."

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