|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Genre: Literary Fiction
Start Date: Feb. 12, 2011
Finished Date: Feb. 20, 2011 (9 days)
Where Found: Chapters-Indigo
Why Read: On my TBR list, had loads of positive reviews, liked the movie version
Read for: Back to the Classics challenge (possible 21st century classic) (1/8)
Summary: In the winter of 1975 in Afghanistan, a young, privileged boy with a tendency for testing the bounds of his friendship with the son of his father's servant witnesses a terrible crime committed against his friend, and the guilt of this knowledge carries with him as he attempts to build a new life in America.
As I read this book, I was initially struck by its simplicity, which becomes a clever deception in that it soon barrels forward, unfolding more and more complicated layers over time and space, as events from the past are carried into the future, affecting every character in profound ways. It is remarkably coincidental that I had recently read Atonement by Ian McEwan, as the books have strikingly similar themes of redemption for a single error in judgment during childhood that resonates over time, influencing major future decisions, remaining everpresent in the conscience of Amir (in The Kite Runner) and Briony (in Atonement).
What separates the two books is Khaled Hosseini's deep exploration of a meaningful friendship, the kin of brotherhood, and the extent of a person's love over social, political and geographical realms. A beautiful quotation provides the greatest insight to these themes: "For you, a thousand times over." Descriptive images of brightly coloured kites, a pasttime that both brings the friends together and tears them apart, provides a perfect metaphor for their relationship: the kites soar to the highest highs, dip to the lowest lows, struggle in complicated tangles, and fight to cut each other down, echoing the trials of a wavering relationship amid jealousy, fear, class, and favourtism deepened by hurtful family secrets.
Khaled Hosseini delights in sharing customs of Afghani culture and Muslim faith, patiently and intricately telling a tale that rings true in both Western and Eastern nations, while attempting to bridge a gap riddled with conflicts of war, tension, racism, cultural & religious persecution, and difference. Writing for the most part through a lens of childhood creates a gentle, peaceful route to a greater understanding between West and East amidst growing suspicions and misunderstandings in a post-9/11 world.
Rank: (A+)- Excellent, A Must-Read