Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

Before the war in Afghanistan, Amir’s favourite pastimes include flying and running kites with his loyal friend, a lower-caste servant named Hassan, who has a talent for catching the last fallen kite- the coveted prize, and a trophy of sorts, during the winter kite-flying tournament. Throughout the rest of the year, the boys cause mischief by reflecting sunlight into people’s homes using mirrors, and shooting walnuts at the neighbour’s dog with a slingshot. Amir also reads adventure stories to the illiterate Hassan, and dreams that one day he will win the approval of his stern father.
One day, after a successful kite tournament, something happens that changes the relationship between Amir and Hassan forever, and alters their lives in ways previously unimaginable. Amir finds himself struggling to cope with his guilt, and in desperation, drives away the only friend he has ever really had.
As war starts to close in on the small country, Amir and his father flee to America, and it isn’t until decades later that Amir is forced to confront his demons and make the difficult journey back to Afghanistan and the life he left behind.

What I gained from reading this book:
For as long as I can remember, Afghanistan has been a country plagued with war, overruled by the Taliban, and destroyed by acts of terrorism. Even now, news reports tell of suicide bombers detonating their bombs and destroying various parts of the country. This book is an eye-opener because it not only covers aspects of the war as seen through Amir’s eyes, but it is also delves into his life as a young boy before war tore apart his native country. The author highlights the differences between the Afghanistan of Amir’s childhood and the Afghanistan of his adult years, and juxtaposes this with the events that helped to define Amir’s transition from an awkward and uncourageous child, to a man determined to turn a past wrong into a right.

This highly acclaimed novel didn’t get rave reviews for nothing. The story is exceptionally written and evokes a sense of authenticity that many fictional novels lack. The details involved in the author’s writing make the reader believe that they are reading the memoirs of an Afghani refugee, rather than a fictional story drawn from some of the real-life events of asylum seekers from Afghanistan.

People who are unable stomach stories of war and violent abuse should probably steer clear of this novel, as the crux of the story centres around these themes.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Genre: Family/ Relationships

Recommended for: Anybody looking for a fictional novel that draws from real-life experiences that some Afghani refugees faced in their search for asylum.

Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below:

The Kite Runner

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