Khaled Hosseini became famous with his first novel, "The Kite Runner."
Khaled Hosseini became famous with his first novel, “The Kite Runner.”

Ten years ago, Afghan-born author Khaled Hosseini found blockbuster fame with “The Kite Runner,” a tale of two boys set against the late-’70s fall of the Afghan monarchy. The novelist will discuss his new book, “And the Mountains Echoed,” Thursday at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.

Do you consider your audience when beginning a book?
I always start with something that interests me personally. I can only enjoy writing when I’m writing for myself.

Your previous novels have shifted between your two homes, Afghanistan and California. This one involves France and Greece as well.
I never intended it to have many perspectives and many protagonists. But this book is like a tree. The trunk is a story about a boy and his sister, separated at a young age. That has multiple branches and multiple consequences.

Are you so interested in family ties because they endure even when people leave their original homes?
In Afghanistan, family is absolutely central. So difficulties within the family are inherently very dramatic.

What would you like Americans to know about Afghanistan?
That it’s not a hopeless place. Over 8 million children have gone back to school. Women are back in the workplace. Only a hardened cynic would say these things don’t matter.


Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW; Thu., 7 p.m., $35 (includes book); 202-408-3100. (Gallery Place)