I believe this is the first English novel written by and about Afghans and Afghanistan. For the first novel, this is a pretty well-written story. And besides the story, it gives a good peep into Afghanistan as it was and how it is today. It tells you about the psychology of Afghans, their small rituals, their values and the games they play. It is also a very sad story; you may not feel very happy at the end of the book The Kite Runner.
There are primarily three layers in the story. The first layer deals with the socio-political scenario in Afghan. The journey of a typical Afghani from the 1960s to next century. And how their world has changed after the Russian invasion and the wars. How the most affluent people turned refugees and had to compromise their honor which is something that an Afghan cares for more than his own life. The Second layer is the story of an Afghani, who was born in the times of monarchy in Kabul. Lives his childhood there and then during Russian invasions has to run with his father to Pakistan and then eventually to America. He comes back to Afghanistan after 20 years to take care of his guilt and a part of the family that he never knew about. And encounters a different place, same people but a different life or rather no life.
This is a story with all the twists and turns with some expected and some unexpected. The third layer of the story deals with human psychology. The truths that one has to face and live with, the layers that you keep discovering on the people you think you know, the guilt of carrying a secret that you have never told anyone. And the sudden explanation of unexplained behaviors when certain secrets are unveiled. It also talks about the class divides that exist in Afghan society as well. Though I am not sure if I can call that a layer, although the main story revolves around that divide.
Khaled is a good storyteller as he starts the story in the middle and then takes you through the past and then to the time ahead of the middle point, almost like a figure of eight. Even the expected turns, he keeps you guessing. The writing style can be little tighter, at places he tends to drag it a bit. The Kite Runner can be a good weekend read…
One line that I really connected with my current situation was ‘moving from the certainty of turmoil to the uncertainty’…strange are such times that fill you with excitement and fear at the same time. Probably because I am going through a similar phase…:-)
Buy this book – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini at Amazon India.
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The kite runner is amazing. I read it some time back. You would also like A thousand splendid suns by khaled, it is indeed touching…..One of the first books I read (in 2004, not too sure)about afghanistan was ‘The book seller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, a war correspondent. Check out the link below :
well done review. thanks.
This book was good, I read his second work ‘A thousand splendid suns’. I think he isn’t a phenomenal writer, but the novelty of his subject matter hides that fact. Read his second book and tell me if you liked it as much. I doubt it, but I’d like to know what you felt.
Although my tryst with reading hasn’t been for long,whatever few works i have read i find The Kite Runner truly wonderful and unique.
The depiction of our human emotions ,our inhibitions & the situations that arise from all our weaknesses and even strengths is so vivdly expressed.At the end you just cant ignore too admire, hassan for his sacrifices,amir for knowing his timidness,baba for all his magnaminity,sohrab for going through so much of suffering for no fault of his.
One more intersting proposition i found in this book was that besides the central character i.e. amir all other characters are just so very good and god send ,you just feel ki this guy will act bad or this lady wil ruin but in the end nobody plays that sort of negative role except amir.So amir is only the weak guy ,a coward ,the only guy who betrays and all other characters are just so very pure and good throughout.The lines like
“its time to be good again” and “for you a thousand times over” just keep revisiting the memories time and again.