Hello friends! Just returned to my home after five weeks of being abroad, so expect some travel posts scattered around! 🙂 Here’s a review after quite a while; I’ll be posting extra this week. (Also if anything interesting is going with you all, please let me know! I love hearing about summer!)
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publishing Company: Riverhead Books
Release Year: 2003
Genre(s): Historical drama, political drama, realistic fiction
I actually can’t give a summary for this one. There are so many incidents that occur that I honestly can’t summarise the book without giving away some major spoilers and going off on a tangent. So instead I offer you the official synopsis, taken from Khaled Hosseini’s website.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
I picked this novel up on a recommendation. I’d heard a lot about it before; it has gotten a lot of high praise over the years. I was captivated by its synopsis, and I expected to like it.
I did not.
I know, I know. It is one of the most renowned political drama novels (for lack of a better phrase) of all time. I tried to like it, really, but I just couldn’t.
One major issue I encountered was that I simply did not like the main character, Amir. I struggled to sympathise with him so much; after all, the sheer enormity of all the tribulation he goes through should, at the very least, induce some affinity for him. Instead, I found him to be a pretentious child who grew into a mopey adult. Only towards the end, when he decided to redeem himself, did I feel sympathy–or any positive feelings–toward him.
This book used almost every single tragic plot device you could think of–from war to rape to illness to familial betrayal to attempted suicide. Every page brought another twist, another conveniently awful coincidence, another way to bring suffering to the characters. (So much so that I daresay it began to resemble the winding, melancholic Bollywood movies Amir and the son of his father’s servant, Hassan, watched as children.) It’s not that I don’t enjoy sad novels (because I certainly do) or war-time novels. I have read war-time books, and those centred around violence in the Middle East specifically, before, but never have I encountered one with this much desolation and absence of even a glimmer of hope.
As for what I did like: The prose was, admittedly, quite nice. It was descriptive and lyrical at times, and I admired the way imagery was used. There were some scenes that were very well-written and truly painted a picture of the beauty of Afghanistan before the war. The premise of the book is interesting, as well. The only problem, for me, was the plot–which is what, in its essence, makes or breaks a book.
All in all: I do not suggest you read it if you are easily triggered by violence, or if you don’t like wiping away angry tears every couple of pages. The Kite Runner was much too melancholic, slightly disturbing, and exaggeratedly despondent for my taste, but hey, it might be the right book for you. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯