07 February 2007

Review - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The author, Khaled Hosseini, knows how to tell a story. It reads like a memoir and is so convincing that I actually wondered if it is all true. The first, oh, third of the book took me a little bit longer to read. I could only take bits at a time because my tears – yes, sobbing, wailing tears – blurred the words. Once you get past that, it’s easier to handle. I hated, absolutely despised the main character in the beginning. I promised myself I would not like him no matter what. I lied. I don’t know that he became my hero, but I forgave him. Basically, Hosseini put my emotions through the same rigor as the main character. The author employs clichés fairly often, but the story overrode that small annoyance. And you have some of those nice little ironies that may be almost pedantic, but, my, they feel nice.
Half set in Afghanistan, half set in Los Angeles, The Kite Runner is about a boy becoming a man and learning the courage that allows him to act in loyalty. It depicts the influence of relationships over lives, father-son, friends, mentor. You also get a glimpse into what happened in Afghanistan, a before and after. Hosseini weaves in political and religious settings without becoming some sort of a professor in the meantime.
I recommend this book, but be willing to need a nap from emotional exhaustion.

10 comments:

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Hmm, great. Well, I guess it'll stay on my TBR list a bit longer. I don't need any more emotional exhaustion, LOL.

Erin said...

Two things I loved about this book:

1) It was so well written that I was actually talking back to the pages of the book, trying to have a conversation with it, to reason with the characters. That's darn good writing.

2) I'd never imagined Afghanistan as a place to be loved, missed or affectionate toward. My American-media-influenced brain thought it was one big dust bowl where people boiled grass to eat for dinner. The Kite Runner made me see that Afghanistan is someone's homeland, and it is worth remembering fondly.

Emotionally, it's a hard read, but I'd still recommend it.

relevantgirl said...

LOVED that book. Loved it. Wow. What I loved was the author's sparse, crisp narrative style. Absolutely gorgeous and jarring.

Robin said...

Well, between you and Erin, I'm headed to the bookstore...your "warnings" will be helpful to my reading, I'm sure. Oooo, and I just read relevantgirl's comments--succinct but intriguing.

Jennifer said...

Wonderful review. Thanks. As you might know, I really love the memoir genre, so it sounds like a good crossover. Of course I've heard about this book. I don't know why I haven't tackled it yet.

Great review.

L.L. Barkat said...

This one has been sitting in "The Pile." I wish I were motivated to read fiction on my own. Only the book group setting ever seems to get me through. (What's with that?)

San said...

TOTALLY agree. The best book I read last year.

Ron Estrada said...

OH! I love Kite Runner. But listen to it on tape. That way the words are pronounced correctly. Talk about great use of tension. This guy is an awesome writer.

Anonymous said...

yeah, about the summary. The book was not set in LA it was set in San Francisco and Afghanistan. Are you sure you read the book?wd

Anonymous said...

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