Friday, August 10, 2007

Khaled Hosseini/THE KITE RUNNER

I realize I'm one of the last people in the world to read this book, but there we go.

The story of Amir and Hassan, two Afghani boys of different races who grew up together in Kabul in the 1970s, and a search for redemption 25 years later that brings Amir back to war-torn Afghanistan to resurrect the past.

This book tortured me from beginning to end. Hosseini comes back to redemption again and again, but for me, in the end, we never get there. Nothing is right. Hassan is too good and Amir is too weak. The worst part, I think, is that Amir is a painfully relatable character--you forgive him, or at least accept him, for his hideous cowardice because you see how you might make the exact same cowardly decisions. Of course the level of atrocity and suffering the characters endure is something that most people privileged enough to read this book will probably never know, and it is worth reading to understand those things (which become so unreal and distant to us when we hear them on the news). And it's worth reading to foster understanding of Afghan culture, etc etc. But that's not what the book was about for me. It's about the legacy of a friendship and a 350-page reminder to be the best person you possibly can.

I would recommend this to anyone.


angelle said...

totally in my top 10.

Florinda said...

I'm reading this RIGHT NOW. I need to finish it before next Friday for my offline book club. So far so good...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and inviting me to visit over here - this looks good!

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

I loved the depth of character this book delivers to the reader. I felt like I was in Afganistan with the Hassan and Amir. "The Kite Runner" introduced me to a part of World History and a tradition I never knew about. When I learn as I read fiction, I want to read more.

I agree that the book was about friendship and redemption. I also realize that redemption in reality often occurs in the most secret places within the soul, never witnessed by others. Often times it's only realized, deep inside, by the one who is redeemed. I believe this to be true of The Kite Runner, and Hassan and Amir. When I finished the book, I did want a "happier ending" but I know that doesn't always happen.

Superb job, Khaled!