I have a friend who has been harking on at me for a good year to read anything by Khaled Hosseini. It has been on the To Do List for ages now – whilst on holiday I actually had a period to sit down and read and thought I would give The Kite Runner a go. I mentally prepared myself for a tear-jerker, I am never very good with dealing with books where terrible things happen…it took me for attempts to read The Chamber of Secrets all the way through. For a seven year old that stuff was scary!
Back to The Kite Runner: this book follows the narrative of Amir, at the start of this novel a twelve year old boy growing up in suburban Kabul, and ending with the adult returning to his home. The innocence and freedom of childhood are compromised by a horrific act that leaves its mark on Amir and his friend/servant Hassan’s lives. This occurs against the backdrop of Russian invaded Afghanistan. The juxtaposition of guilt and redemption in a flawed main character struggling to adulthood through acceptance of mistakes makes for a poignant read. Hosseini himself describes the book as a father-son story, and certainly delivers through the exploration of male relationships and an inability to communicate that results in jealousy, inadequacy and resentment.
Hosseini’s best talents lie in his ability to create a fully believable and flawed Amir that the reader is able to empathise with. The writing is beautiful – raw and bitter, it fully gripped me. Maybe do not read in a public place, it can be an emotional roller-coaster. I found very refreshing to read some Afghani literature, I must admit it is not the sort of thing I have read before. It has inspired me to look wider for my authors and I would definitely read something by Hosseini again.
I would recommend reading The Kite Runner if you are looking for a cathartic and uplifting read. Probably not a beach read, it is perfect for curling up on a cold winter night and devouring.