Sunday, 10 July 2011

Review:- Khaled HOSSEINI – “The Kite Runner”

Year Published: - 2003
Where the book was from:- My own copy
ISBN: - 978 0 7475 6653 3
Pages: - 324pp
Genre: - General Fiction
Location:- Afghanistan / Pakistan / USA
How I came across it: - Serendipity
Rating: - ***** *****

One sentence summary:-
An unforgettable novel of 1970s Afghanistan setting the adventures of a young boy against the background of a rapidly changing environment.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- Twelve year old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting contest and he and his loyal friend – his father’s servant’s son – look set to have a good chance. But that afternoon their lives are totally changed by an event that happens to Hassan. After the Russians invade Amir’s family flees to the US only to return under the rule of the Taliban to find redemption for what he did that afternoon many years earlier.

General comments:- One of the lessons I learned from this novel was the answer to a question I have often posed. How is it that people who welcome one regime one minute can end up on the streets demonstrating a change of regime in net to no time. I have always thought it was a bit fickle of ‘the masses’. But this story made me realise it is not that the populace is fickle but that its hopefulness always exceeds what the changed regime delivers.


I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley…

“Ah a storyteller,” the General said. “Well people need stories to divert them at difficult times like this.”

It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.

We’re a melancholic people, we Afghan, aren’t we? Often, we wallow too much in ghamkhorio and self-pity. We give in to loss, to suffering, accept it as a fact of life, even see it as necessary. Zendagi migzara, we say, life goes on.

AUTHOR Notes:- Khaled HOSSEINI was born in Afghanistan in 1965 and his family received political asylum in the USA in 1980. He is a doctor and lives in California. The Kite Runner was his first novel.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, it's an interesting book. And, in smaller ways, I've learned the hard way over the years that a single instance can change your life forever, and not always in a good way. This book also makes me appreciate yet again how lucky we are to live in the West.
    Canadian Chickadee


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