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  • Anwesa Chattopadhyay

    Crisis, Survival and an Enigma of Homelessness: Tracing the History of Afghanistan in Khaled Hosseini’s Novels

    Anwesa Chattopadhyay, Assistant Professor of English, Directorate of Open and Distance Learning, University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India

     

    ‘Home’ is an issue of foremost concern in the literary works of the diasporic writers. It becomes more complicated for the members of Afghan ethnic communities, who were forced to leave their country due to some socio-political or historical upheavals. Haunted by the memory of the homeland, and the consequent feelings of alienation in the host land, these authors nurture a desire for the construction of an alternative ‘home’ that is largely imaginative. Salman Rushdie’s statement in his essay “Imaginary Homelands” is significant in this respect. He feels,

    ...that writers in my position, exiles or immigrants and expatriates, are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back…our physical alienation from almost inevitably means that we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely the thing that was lost, that we will, in short, create fictions, not actual cities or villages, but invisible ones, imaginary homelands, Indias of the mind (10).

    Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Khaled Hosseini (1965- ) and his family had to leave their country and migrate to the United States in the 1980s due to the Soviet War. This paper aims to critically analyze the nature of the diasporic dilemma which leads to the construction of  “imaginary homelands” in Hosseini’snovels such as The kite Runner(2003), A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), and And The Mountains Echoed (2013), In doing so, it will also look into the representation of Afghanistan both as a psychological space and a physical place, its history, culture, customs and lived experiences.

     

    Key Words: Home, Homelessness, Crisis, Nostalgia, History, Imaginary Homelands.