Posted by: Nathan | October 18, 2007

The Kite Runner is Impressive

It’s been a couple of months since I finished Khaled Hosseini’s ubiquitous Kite Runner, and I’m sorry for the delay. Now, I know what your wondering: “Doesn’t Nathan only read books that have been around for at least twenty years?” Yeah, normally that’s my gig, but Hosseini’s novel came with multiple recommendations (not the least of which was from this guy), and I actually had a customer at my bank give me the book. I gave it a try.

kite-runner.jpgOne of the most important functions in literature is the ability to make another place—real or imaginary—real to the reader; KR does this amazingly well. The story is set in Afganistan and flows in three main parts: Amir’s childhood with Hassan in Afganistan prior to the Russian invasion, Amir’s departure to the U.S. with Baba (his dad) and their life there, and the return of Amir to Afganistan to atone for his past. Since you are well aware of my hatred of giving away endings, you’ll pardon my hazy description of this novel; it’s a book best encountered with fresh eyes. Hosseini has much to show you.

Like every good book, KR gets at the heart of life: the friendship of Amir and Hassan and how it ends, the guilt that accompanies a mistake you can never take back, the love of a wife and husband, strained family relationships, and the desire for redemption. This is a powerful book; I cried various times for the families, for the children, for the loss of innocence that the Afganis have been forced to experience.

The plot is excellent, unpredictable, and moving. The characters are real. KR is especially powerful because of the fact that what was so evil for these characters decades ago is still the condition the Middle East faces. Hosseini opened my eyes to a Middle East filled not with terrorists (though they are there) but with real people who have children, wives, and dreams. This is a novel with a lot of depth. 9/10, A. I already have A Thousand Splendid Suns and can’t wait to read it.

As an aside, this book isn’t for younger readers. There is too much brutality and graphic depictions of atrocities you don’t want your young ones to encounter until they’re more mature.

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Responses

  1. A fine review of a fine book. I’m glad you found it such an enriching experience. They’re coming out with a movie soon, too.

  2. Thank you for the reveiw. I purchased the book since our local library had one copy and it was checked out. I took it on my trip to Orlando — business. I was captured by the book and finished it. I confess to reading it during a couple of sessions while seated on the back row — better than sleeping. It was great!

  3. It really is a great book. I found it hard to believe that it was fiction and not a true story because it was depicted with so much of the ambiguity that is present in real life. It reminds me of the Les Miserables story (although I haven’t read the book) for some reason, can’t put my finger on why.

    All of our freshmen at Central read this book and discussed it during orientation this fall. I can see why they picked it. Now I want to read the sequel.

  4. Reminds you of Les Mis, eh? I can definitely see the parallels in terms of atoning for past mistakes. Kite Runner is a lot shorter, I can tell you that.


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