Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite RunnerAn epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption. And it is also about the power of fathers over sons -- their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvasses of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject -- the devastating history of Afghanistan over the past thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut. -Synopsis taken from Goodreads

I devoured this book. Like, started reading around noon and just finished at 10 P.M. When I started, I wasn't really feeling it. I found myself getting easily distracted and finding excuses to go do something else. I'm not sure exactly where the turning point was, but eventually I found myself unable to put it down. My son had a doctor appointment and I took the book with me, thankful for once that the doc was running behind, allowing me to knock out 40-50 pages while we waited. I came home and read but kept telling myself 'when I get to 200 pages, I'll stop and do something else'. Then it was 250, 300 and then I was done. I haven't pushed through a novel like that it a very long time. 

I will say that this book made me mad more than anything. I would get very, very mad and then  horribly sad and heartbroken and then just when I thought my emotions were subsiding a little, something else would make me mad again. Several portions of the book made me question my faith in humanity. It bothers me so much to hear the acts of depravity that others are willing to inflict on others, even when it's only fictional. The 'bad guy' Assef does some despicable things in this book. However, it was Amir's crimes against Hassan that bothered me most of all. Like I said, Assef iss the bad guy, you expect him to do awful things. Amir is supposed to be Hassan's friend and yet he betrays him at every opportunity. Better to be stabbed in the front by an enemy than in the back by a friend.

I had a hard time ever connecting to Amir because he was the worst kind of coward. Even as he tries to atone in the end, it seemed sort of 'too little too late'. He was thrust into the conflict with Assef in the end and would have even left Sohrab there with the American couple if they hadn't been made up.  If it hadn't been for Rahim, Amir would have just got back on the plane to America and left poor little Sohrab in the orphanage to rot. I just had a hard time buying this big quest for redemption when he'd basically been forced into it. 

All in all, this book still gave me an emotional sucker-punch to the gut, grabbing me and refused to let me go.


Bailey said...

I understand how you didn't really connect with Amir. It's been awhile since I've read this one, but I remember it being completely engrossing... Good review!!

Amy said...

I've had this book on my shelf for a couple of years & keep meaning to read it. I'm excited about it now because of how you say you devoured it. I also love a book to which I have a major emotional reaction as you did getting angry and then very sad.
It certainly sounds worth reading!

Teacher/Learner said...

I'm so glad to hear that you were engrossed with this book. So was I. It became "un-put-downable" :) It's definitely an emotional roller coaster and I also felt upset by how Amir treated Hassan. It was such a powerful book and I was very touched by it.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I've had this book for a very long time. I have yet to read it because I've heard so many people say it was sad and I don't do sad books.

Reading Rachel said...

It is very sad but to me it was completely worth it.

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