Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Picture of Afghanistan

Khaled Hosseini paints a stunning, vivid, and realistic picture of Afghanistan in The Kite Runner. This book is definitely a must-read! Although at times, it was very difficult to read not because of the writing style or the foreign terms but because of the violent accounts of daily life in Afghanistan. For Americans, this is something that is read about in the paper, listened to on NPR, and watched on the news. But, the descriptions of the atrocities that occur in the book and because they are tied to the main characters made me feel like I was living through the current history of the country - from the overthrough of the monarchy and the Russian invasion to the rise of the Taliban.

In addition to that, it was difficult at first to relate to our narrator, Amir, who does not play the typical protagonist/hero role. He is somewhat of a coward throughout most of the book. He and his servant's son, Hassan, grow up together both withouth a mother and even nurse from the same woman as children which meant their lives were destined to be intertwined. They are best friends in a world where their religions make one superior to the other - Amir, a Suni Muslim and Hassan, a Shi'a Muslim. However, many incidents, especially those in which Amir yearns to win his father's approval, lead him to commit his own shameful atrocities toward Hassan. Amir eventually leaves Afghanistan with his father and moves to California where he longs to forget his past. But, the past catches up to him and forces him to return to Afghanistan where he is eventually vindicated and finds redemption. Along the way, he discovers a secret which will change his life forever.

I loved this book and have even purchased it's follow-up, A Thousand Splendid Suns. But, it's not next on my reading list because I prefer to read something a little more lighthearted before returning to the bleak realism of Hosseini.


  1. I too liked the book... and want to read the follow-up, but enjoy the lighthearted books better.

  2. I'll let you know if I like the follow-up. Although, it's at the bottom of my stack for now.


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