I actually cannot believe it’s taken me so long to read this book. The Kite Runner was an emotional roller coaster, but one that sheds light on the potential power of stories. Not only do stories play a large role in the book, but this one does not shy away from presenting us with real – and flawed –characters, abuse, and the capacity life has, for thwarting neat endings.
Amir and Hassan have been friends for as long as they can remember. Their bond is one, that goes beyond Hassan’s position as a servant in Amir’s family home. Having shared the same nursemaid, these two are bound by a deep friendship, loyalty, and secrets. But neither is prepared for the actions of one day that will rip a hole in the very fabric of both: their friendship and the beginning of a tear within Afghanistan itself. What proceeds, is a story that looks straight into the human heart, and all its capability for both the honorable and shameful.
It is near impossible to pick my favorite aspect of the book to highlight. How could I choose between the extremely relatable characters that mirror the depths of our heart, a meaningful plot that questions the notion of honor, and writing that has both an artistic flair and a touch of destiny? Together these elements combine to produce a book that is as memorable as it is moving.
Hosseini captures you from the very beginning in an excellent web of narration – reminiscing with the benefit of hindsight, one that is frequently done, but rarely pulled off as well as it is here. This is merely the start to a journey that will not only speak to the power of stories, our relationship to our home, and the dissection of privilege connected to honor. The Kite Runner truly captures the power of the word, not only by exercising that power to create words which captivate, but by providing a narrative where the absence of words are as powerful as a scream.
There are no easy characters in this book, because they are all so genuinely human. Hosseini embodies both the cruelty bred from fear, and the potential humanity has for redemption from a variety of different perspectives within the story. We see the heartbreaking viciousness that springs forth from ignorance and fear, in a book that represents both guilt and forgiveness. The follies of our youth have disastrous consequences, that will ripple forward, both difficult to stand up to without being swept under.
One of the greatest feats of The Kiter Runner is how it brilliantly maintains the juxtaposition between the relatability of Amir’s mistakes and the setting of Afghanistan – the familiar with the unfamiliar. Hosseini portrays a world that many, including myself, have not experienced with its sights, tastes, and vividness – both during the light of youth and the darkness it faces. There are parallels and echoes that keep coming back to you during the story, reminding you of the fantastic writing which leaves nothing forgotten.
Another element I appreciated, although perhaps my stress levels did not, was the way that The Kite Runner embraces ‘messy’ endings. Forgiveness and guilt are processes we can spend our whole life untangling – this book is proof of that – and it cheapens our reading experience to be handed a consolation prize at the end. Coming to terms with the past, communing with our ghosts, is an endeavor fraught with relapses, confusion, and anger.
Whether it be, because of the fantastic plot, or the amazingly genuine characters, or even Hosseini’s way of writing, which makes you stop in your tracks – this book will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
Have you read this? I need to fan girl.
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