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Monday, May 26, 2008

The Kite Runner

****½ The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. General fiction.

I bought this from Zooba (now BOMC2) as part of my effort to expand my reading horizons--I tend to stay far, far away from "bestsellers," especially books that are promoted as being "bestsellers" even before they hit the shelves. But I realized that this, too, is a prejudice, so I started putting a few in my queue.

Despite all the hype, all I knew about The Kite Runner prior to reading it was that it was about Afghanistan, and that people either loved or hated it because of that.

It is indeed set in Afghanistan, but it's about Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, and his friend Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. It's about childhood, and the limitations of friendship when confronted with class differences and competition for a distant parent's love. It's about growing up, and coming to terms with childhood injustices, both those given and received. The setting of Afghanistan definitely contributes to the plot, but it's not, in itself, what the book is about.

The Kite Runner is a powerful, uncomfortable story. I heartily disliked Amir for quite a while until I recognized some of my own petty childhood cruelties, both received and perpetrated, and realized that he wasn't exceptionally cruel or self-centered--he was just a child.

I doubt I'll read this again, but I'm very glad I read it.

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I enjoyed reading this book, Darla! Although I've to agree that Amir is not a likeable character. I'm looking forward to reading A Thousand Splendid Sun though.
I've avoided reading this book because I know there's rape, cruelty and human destruction in it. I just have had too much of that in my life and in the lives of my clients and people I love. So, I don't take it on in books.

You are braver than I am
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