The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Category: Fiction/ Audio
Synopsis: From Amazon.com
The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty. In part, it is these demons and the sometimes impossible quest for forgiveness that bring him back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. ("...I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.")
My Thoughts: I have been meaning to read this book for ages and I finally bought it when my mentor told me that my first years were reading it for Swedish. I am glad I listened to it.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book. I loved what it had to say about Afghanistan and the west's culpability in what happened. I loved how it described why the Afghanistan as we know it happened. I loved the descriptions of how it was. I also loved the insight into the feelings of those who flee their home country and why they love it.
I am not sure I liked Amir. I understand why he did what he did. I understand why he felt the way he did towards Hassan. I can also understand the actions of the grown-ups but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel revulsion. I guess that is what I should feel. Seeing the dark side of humanity can also be good because otherwise how can we recognise it when we see it? But that doesn’t stop the nauseous feeling I got when I heard the scene in the alley walking to the bus one morning. It stayed with me. It has haunted me.
I suppose this is a book that will stay with me. Not necessarily one that I will go back and read again but one that will stay in my brain informing the way I think and feel. I think this book has changed me in ways I had not predicted when I started listening to it. I suppose this makes it a book of value.
Audio: I liked the fact that the author narrated the story. Hearing the Afghan names pronounced properly was a treat. However, I did at times have a problem following with all the names as they were not familiar to me (my own ignorance). I found that the author was able to bring the characters alive. I could almost smell the smells he described and see the sights. I do so wish that the country wasn’t ravaged by war.
Overall this is a book that I would recommend to others. I think it is an important read.