Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime."

The Kite Runner - Kahled Hosseini

372 pages

Genre:  Literature; Contemporary; Historical Fiction

Summary:  Set on the backdrop of both pre and post-Taliban occupied Afghanistan, The Kite Runner unfolds through the eyes of Amir, a wealthy boy, as he comes of age during the political turmoil in his country.  Not only does this book examine Amir’s life, but it also highlights his relationship with his friend Hassan, a servant in his home, along with exploring the dynamics between fathers and sons.

Review:  I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a number of years, but I’ve never gotten around to reading it, as I had a feeling it was going to be super sad.  I finally picked it up a few days ago, and while this book is, indeed, very sad, I found it thoroughly engrossing, albeit horrifying at times, and I could barely put it down.

The characters were incredibly well-drawn, and I especially liked the narrator.  Amir was a deeply flawed character who was constantly conflicted by emotions and mistakes he made in the past, and it was easy to see him as a real person.  I also really enjoyed Hassan, even though I didn’t quite understand his unwavering loyalty to Amir.  He had a great deal of inner strength, and his actions were often quite admirable.

The plot itself was rather heartbreaking, and I kept reading along, hoping things would get better for the characters.  I liked the dichotomy that Hosseini provided in relation to the two Afghanistans:  one ruled by the monarchy, the other, by the Taliban.  It was horrifying to see just how much everyday life in the country changed with just a change in power.  The racial and religious dynamics presented in the book were also incredibly sad, but I kind of already knew that was the case before reading this book.

If you’re looking for a happy tale with loose ends tied together by the book’s end, The Kite Runner isn’t for you; however, if you enjoy sad, gritty, raw books that examine human psychology and give a nod to history, you should definitely check it out.

Rating: 4/5

Another Book by Khaled HosseiniA Thousand Splendid Suns