Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini~★★★★★

Author: Khaled Hosseini
Title: The Kite Runner
Release Date: April 27th, 2004
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Genre: Fiction

Amazon Review (no description on jacket): "In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.
The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty. In part, it is these demons and the sometimes impossible quest for forgiveness that bring him back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. ('...I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.')
Some of the plot's turns and twists may be somewhat implausible, but Hosseini has created characters that seem so real that one almost forgets that The Kite Runner is a novel and not a memoir. At a time when Afghanistan has been thrust into the forefront of America's collective consciousness ('people sipping lattes at Starbucks were talking about the battle for Kunduz'), Hosseini offers an honest, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but always heartfelt view of a fascinating land. Perhaps the only true flaw in this extraordinary novel is that it ends all too soon."

Taryn's Review: While I loved this book, it is so vividly descriptive that during one of the most violent scenes in the book I was ready to burst out tears and stop reading. However, the point of reading is to expand one's own world view, and thus, I kept reading the novel and I'm glad I did. But the imagery in the book will haunt you. If you aren't one who likes graphic scenes, you'd be best advised to skip the book.

Hosseini is obviously a gifted writer, and I loved his other novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. This story was equally as engulfing, yet there were a few twists that left me thinking that the odds of such a story playing out in real life were slim-to-none (but possible!). I am forgiving though since the major plot twists in the book were splendidly executed and the book as a whole is just magnificent.

I know this was turned into a movie, but I haven't seen it and I don't think I will. This book is incredible, and in the same amount of time it might take you to watch the movie, you could find yourself absorbed in a book that will be etched into your mindscape forever.

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