“A sensational novel I would read a thousand times over!”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

Since I’ve been running reading addicts I’ve had a lot of what we call here ‘India-Lit’ recommended to me. Khaled Hosseini, Moshin Hamid, Umera Ahmad are just a handful of the authors I’ve had recommended, so with that in mind I went shopping and stocked up a little, adding a few recommended titles to my to be read pile. Given how highly recommended it comes on our Facebook page I started with The Kite Runner and I wasn’t disappointed.

Within a chapter of the Kite Runner I had fallen into the story, Hosseini’s writing is beautifully descriptive and he captures human emotion perfectly. Amir’s description of his childhood is beautiful and haunting and his experiences are enough to bring a grown man to his knees.

In discussion on the book I’ve heard a lot of people say that Amir atoned well for his sins, and I’m starting to think I may be the only person who thinks he doesn’t have any. He makes mistakes as a child, and these mistakes have long reaching ramifications, but blame? I don’t think Amir can be to blame, I think a society that forces children to keep terrible secrets is to blame here, a society that prevents children telling terrible truths. It would be easy here to blame a culture for the failings that meant Amir felt he had to carry such a heavy burden, but I don’t think the subject matter in hand fares well in any culture, in the Western World or anywhere else. There are things that as adults we find difficult to talk about everywhere in the world, and children interpret our reticence in the only way they know how and often carry with the guilt that we burden them with due to our own failures in being able to talk comfortably about difficult truths. In fact most of the negative reviews I heard from the book were due to the difficult subject matter. Myself, I feel like Amir could have been anywhere in the world with his terrible secret and still feel he had to keep it. In short, I loved the book but I found the reaction of others more difficult to swallow.

As Amir grew so did my love for him, and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you that the Taliban rules/Afghan war happens within the timeline of the book. It’s haunting, it’s terrifying yet you feel compelled to read on, to hear every terrible thing the average man on the street had to endure during this terrible time. This is a real thought provoking and tear-jerking novel, bringing to life a time that many of us in the West only saw through a media lens, it’s certainly an eye-opener and Hosseini captures perfectly the terror, loss and mindlessness of the last few years.

I’m not sure a novel like Kiterunner can have a happy ending, even when it ends on a high. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It was an unforgettable story of love, friendship, guilt and the things we feel responsible for in life, wherever in the world we are.

Will I read more by this author? A thousand times over.

 

Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 6th April 2015

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Kath Cross

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