Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mini-Review: "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

This book is so good that I am not going to ruin it for you by discussing any of the plot. The Kite Runner has been widely acclaimed as one of the best novels to be published in the past several years. When you take into account the fact that this is Khaled Hosseini’s first novel, the achievement becomes that much more impressive.

Set in Afghanistan, Pakistan and San Francisco, this tale of betrayal, atonement and redemption has a haunting quality to it. Once the author had drawn me within the story’s strong gravitational field, I could not put the book down. Hosseini helps us to see the world through the eyes of a child - and then a man - who watches his beloved Afghanistan crumble under the weight of Soviet aggression, Taliban demagoguery and the arrival of American bombs. While the protagonist’s homeland falls victim to forces beyond his control, his life suffers parallel catastrophes, often triggered by his own cowardly choices. As the story develops, the main character has an opportunity to redeem himself and emerge as a hero.

The redemption theme is summed up succinctly in this passage that appears near the end of the book:

“I slipped the picture back where I had found it. Then I realized something: That last thought had brought no sting with it. Closing Sohrab’s door, I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night." (Page 359)

This powerful book comes with my strong recommendation.



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