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August 17, 2005

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini – ISBN: 1594480001

A first time novelist--a California physician born in Afghanistan—writes one of the most unforgettable stories about his native land and a handful of fascinating personages.

In my review of The Bookseller of Kabul, you will find my comment that even this successful, well educated and informed “citizen” of Afghanistan is a somewhat sordid, nihilistic rube bent on preserving the dominance of the worst parts of Islam. In this book you will find the major characters to be all but completely opposite.

Tragic, engaging, and beautifully written; in the beginning one could be quite certain that it was written as an autobiography “in the second person.” His tale is so riveting that you believe it must have happened to Hosseini.

The plot twists are considerable, and just about the time you believe you have it figured out you find that you’re mistaken. It ranges from a time before the Russian invasion with the deposition of the king—enlightened ruler of a progressive country—and ends after many turns, with the immigration (as an adoptee) of the son of one of the protagonists who, executed by the Taliban.

The descriptions of Afghan civilization are enlightening, the title “kite runner” is elaborated upon, and the ultimate tie-in closes the book.

Gripping and sad, but engaging and enlightening as to the culture destroyed first by the Russians, and later by the Taliban. Some of his descriptions remind of another book I have reviewed: The Man Who Would Be King.

“A powerful book . . . no frills, no nonsense, just hard, spare prose . . . an intimate account of family, friendship, betrayal and salvation that requires no atlas or translation to engage and enlighten us. Parts of The Kite Runner are raw and excruciating to read, yet the book in its entirety is lovingly written.” (quote from the Washington Post Book World)

A very worthwhile read on any number of accounts.

Posted by respeto at August 17, 2005 4:37 PM