The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

77203Somehow I forgot to review this novel when I read it nearly three weeks ago. Not sure how it fell through the cracks! I’m glad I waited a long time to read this after it was released to major hype last decade. But with so many gushing reviews of all three of his novels constantly finding their way into my feedly stream, I knew I couldn’t wait any longer.

Writing a synopsis seems fairly pointless. I’m sure most have already read Hosseini’s emotional tale of two boys growing up together in Afghanistan. One is rich, the other his servant, but they live side-by-side almost as brothers until an devastating betrayal occurs setting the rest of the story into motion. That’s really all you need to know before starting.

Amir and Hassan’s friendship is truly the backbone of this story. Their dynamic is so compelling. From different social classes and standing on opposites sites of a religious war, they somehow manage to mean so much to each other. The boys represent the crisis happening in the war torn nation as well as offer hope for a peaceful resolution. When they are divided during their childhood, both emotionally and physcially, the books feels disjointed. In many ways, Amir and Hassan are like doomed soulmates.

Since I’ve been searching for novels set in the Middle East, I was excited to learn more about Afghanistan and Pakistan through The Kite Runner. I spent a good amount of time researching the relationship between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Google mapping these forgein lands, and just plain learning as much as I could to enhance not only my reading but also my understanding of the turbulent situation faced by the people of those countries. I love learning history and culture through narrative.

If you haven’t read Hosseini’s novel, I can honestly say it’s definitely worth picking up. Some of the scenes are devastating. At one point towards the end, I almost couldn’t continue on. So many tragedies and atrocities occur, but there’s always hope and perseverance to keep the pages turning. Amir’s character growth, his friendship with Hassan, the dynamic between him and his father, and his road to redemption are stunning.

So did it live up to the hype? Not entirely – which obviously is not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I did, but I can see some cracks in the story – some moments of emotional manipulation that to me were slightly unnecessary. I think Hosseini could have won major writing points with a ‘less is more’ mentality. However, I can’t wait to continue on to his second and third novels. I’m certain his writing can only have gotten better and better.

4 thoughts on “The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    • Not knowing very much about his other novels, I can see where you’re coming from. He definitely appears to be writing what he knows. We’ll see how different his second novel his!

  1. I try to shy away from thinking of books as emotionally manipulative (Hello John Green!) but I can definitely see where you’re coming from and would conclude that Thousand Splendid Suns will probably feel the same (I haven’t read his most recent). Books set in the Middle East. Non-fiction but have you read Persepolis? Loved it (plus graphic memoir). I also really enjoyed My Father’s Paradise which is non-fiction set in Iran.

    • I try not to go the manipulative route as well, but sometimes it just won’t be ignored. Thanks for the recommendations. I have Persepolis on the shelf since my bookclub is reading it in September, but will have to check out My Father’s Paradise!

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