Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bookshelf: Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner

My sister read this book a couple of years ago, and considering her high recommendations of a book that isn't her usual reading genre, I had to check it out. This book instantly pulls you into the characters, and makes you wonder how in the world you're going to be able to like the lead character, Amir. Hosseini has the talent of doing great enough character development to leave that question in the dust as develop with Amir. Not only that but for those not too familiar with the backdrop of what is happening in Afghanistan beyond America's involvement it's quite educational.

Summary: Amir is best friends with Hassan. Hassan's father is the servant of Amir's father, Baba. At first their friendship is simple. The two live in the same place, and their father's ability to seem on the same level when around other doesn't make them aware of their caste differences. As Amir grows older the bullying regarding their friendship becomes more prominent, Hassan's despised Hazara heritage is beginning to cause a cultural strife in the area. Amir also begins to long more for his father's affection, and it seems that making a sacrifice of his friendship is the only way to get it. What he does causes him regret that lasts him into his adulthood leaving him needing some sort of redemption.

Characters: Amir frustrated me so much, and by the end I did feel for him more. I think that is what makes a great character though. I don't know that I ever fully liked him by the end though, but then again maybe how he reacted to situations is how most of us would react? I can't say that I would even have been brave enough to make the choices he did to try to right the wrongs. I loved the complexity of other characters as well, like Baba. Some moments you like him, and then others you think he could prevent the path that Ali and Hassan take if he would just try to treat his son as an equal to them. Their are two characters I felt were too flawless though, and that was Ali and Hassan. I guess they did have their flaws, but why were they so perfect, and the other characters so full of flaws. I also really related to Soraya's character, she is Amir's wife. I thought her story was one of the more touching ones, and she was one of the more realistic and likable characters in the book.

Writing: I saw that it had crossed other mind's as well, but this book is written in the first person perspective of Amir. Amir is from Afghanistan, and his native language isn't English, yet he writes in a style that is so American. He just doesn't depict quite the accent and the tones well enough of the people there to really make that setting pop. Don't get me wrong, the writing is great, just doesn't really match bringing out the vibe of the people and story. Hosseini is very descriptive and tell tale with his characters.

Plot: The plot develops a bit slowly at first, and then as soon as the division between Amir and Hassan happens the book really takes off. Not a chapter can even go by where something doesn't seem to be happening to advance the plot. I also did get emotionally involved with the novel, when certain characters would pass away, or even when something good would happen I would feel tears in my eyes. The ending though is fitting for the novel, but I don't know why, but something felt a little lackluster about it after the emotion of the whole novel. I felt it was really drawn out, or maybe just not impacting enough.

The Kite Runner is a really strong debut novel. It's well written, and has complex characters that do emotionally rivet. The book is very descriptive, so at times I had to keep hard focused to reading, but I had trouble putting this book down as well. I always was wanting to know what would happen next when I couldn't find a moment to read it.

Rating 8 of 10.

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