The Kite Runner
I should start by saying I knew nothing about mid-eastern politics before this book. Thought the book is not purely about politics, it takes place from 1960 to the new millennium, in the midst of the complete transformation, and ultimate destruction of Afghanistan. The book is similar to an autobiography, telling tales of each stage of the narrator’s life.
Hosseini’s writing style is something I enjoyed, and I’m excited to read more books by him. He’s a to-the-point kind of writer and doesn’t bother with fluff. The story is intriguing, moving, and very relatable. It really has changed my outlook and has helped me to understand the devastation and war that occurred in Afghanistan. It took me a while, actually several attempts to get into this book. The volume of characters with Afghan names introduced in the very beginning made it hard for me to follow. I re-read the first chapter for the fourth time, this time highlighting and taking notes. That did the trick, and after about page 15 I was fully engrossed.
The novel’s narrator is Amir, a boy with a privliged background. Through the stories of his childhood, he demonstrated how difficult it was to feel the pressure that came along with a nearly celebrity father. His relationship with Hassan is similar to that of a brother and it reminded me of “The Red Heron” (which was a horribly sad short story!). I could relate to the younger Amir, as I think many first born children could. Unintentionally, younger siblings and second born often are given benefit of the doubt and more attention, which shapes children’s personality. I know this not only from personal experience, but experience babysitting. Giving equal attention is not only difficult, but impossible.
When Amir becomes an adult, I found myself beaming as he married and settled into a life. Because the author introduces him so young, it feels as if you know him personally. Suspenseful is an understatement for the trip overseas that Amir took at the end of the book. The beginning and middle of the novel were great, but it took me about a week and a half to read them. The last third took me a late night and an early morning. Sleeping was difficult without knowing what happens.
This book really did make me stop and think about things like sin, regret, my own relationship with God, and courage. The only part that left me unsettled was the end; I would have liked it to be more conclusive. Hosseni is now on my list of favorite authors, and I know now what to look for in a fiction novel, as before it was hard for me to find one I enjoyed.