June 14, 2005
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
If you can read only one book this entire year, The Kite Runner needs to be that book. (I know that this is such a cliche saying, but I just know that you all would love this book as immensely as I have.)
Before purchasing the book, I was concerned about the setting. What do I know about Afghanistan? Nothing much. My ignorance didn't matter one bit when I started to read. Khaled Hosseini does a beautiful job of describing anything that the reader may not understand, but nothing in this book is difficult to grasp. This book isn't about the politics of Afghanistan. This book is about life. It's about social stigmas, childhood friends, betrayal, guilt, love, and passion.
This amazing story begins with a phone-call. It's an old friend calling our narrator, Amir, who is now 38. The old friend is giving Amir a chance to make himself good again, but he must go back to Afghanistan to do it. Our journey doesn't begin on an airplane, though. First, Amir brings us back in time to his childhood. He pulls us into a world foreign to our own, but into a life that we can relate to. We learn about Amir and his childhood friend Hassan, who loves Amir unconditionally. Hassan always takes up for Amir and protects him from childhood bullies even though he is a year younger than Amir. They are nearly inseparable, until one day when Amir's courage doesn't match up to his friend's. Their lives are changed forever.
The story comes full circle when Amir comes back around to the present time, and the story feels like it has only just begun. The author does not rush an ending, as I’ve seen many other authors do in the past. He takes his time and tells the story as only he knows how, in the most amazing way.
This book is a journey that I will never forget. I absolutely love Hosseini's writing style and the unforgettable imagery he used. I've never used the word 'powerful' to describe a book, but now I truely understand how powerful and moving a book can be. Hosseini's characters were more than well-rounded. They really came to life for me. This book has a resonance that will be with me for the rest of my life. If you can only read one book this year, let it be The Kite Runner.
This is a wonderful essay written by Hosseini regarding his own trip back to Afghanistan after 27 years. You can get a feel for his writing style and some familiarization with The Kite Runner, without any spoilers.
Posted by atouria at June 14, 2005 08:35 AM
I've been reading "The Bookseller of Kabul" (which I highly recommend) and was hoping to find more books about Afghanistan. Thanks for the recommendation!
Posted by: Jenn at June 29, 2005 11:45 AM
Thanks for mentioning "The bookseller of Kabul," Jenn. I'll have to give it a peek next time I'm at the bookstore. I'm glad you enjoyed my review. If you decide to read The kite Runner, please let me know what you think. :)
Posted by: atouria at June 30, 2005 04:06 PM
Not Afghanistan, but I found Reading Lolita in Tehran to be really good and it doesn't matter if you haven't read Lolita or Great Gatsby or any of the other classics around which she has worked the structure of the book.
It is a great thing to see the different ways people focus on things outside of their culture, and this book allows you to do that by seeing your reaction to their culture and their reactions to our culture as represented by a lot of the books that their group read.
Posted by: Seanna Lea at July 28, 2005 02:30 PM
I read The Kite Runner this summer and I totally agree: What a powerful book! I really like the unpretentious way Hosseini writes, using simple yet powerful images. However, I did feel that maybe the plot went just a little too far. I guess I'm just very cynical, but there was one too many horrible tragic events for me. I don't want to give away plot points, so I won't mention the specific incident that yanked me out of the book. I'll just say that when I read it, I became aware of where I was again.
Still, I want to read more by this author! And, suddenly, I want to know more about Afghanistan. That for me was the real strength of the book.
Posted by: emily at August 10, 2005 02:48 PM