This month, I’m reading some modern classics with focuses on non-American, non-British cultures. This first one, even though it doesn’t focus on American culture, does have some interesting intersections with my own history that probably drew me to it.
At one point, I filled out the Amazon’s 100 Books to Read Before You Die. Well, in effort to check a few more off that list, I found The Kite Runner and read it.
The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
This book’s genre isn’t my usual fare. I tend to focus on purely speculative stuff, and I’m not a huge fan of very character driven things. At the same time, I’ve tried in the past to read diverse books by diverse authors, and this one seems to be a modern classic that would tick that box. This tale of two boys from Afghanistan seems to at least be an informative, interesting book, and I hope it’ll be intriguing.
And the book was interesting, when considered as a whole. The middle part of the book, though, was a pretty long slog of boring, but I understood why most of it was necessary by the end. Amir’s quest for forgiveness after witnessing a horrible event in Kabul did have emotional resonance, and ironies throughout the book presented themselves.
I enjoyed the rich cultural backdrops and premises in the book. Unlike Trail of Lightning, which I had very high hopes for, Kite Runner did an excellent job pulling a westerner into the story. It very clearly explained what needed to be explained, and it let itself build. Those things that were unfamiliar didn’t stay unfamiliar long, and I appreciated that.
The twists were very good, and the themes of fate, destiny, and belief tied into those twists. Amir’s personal, internal journey mirrored the one he had externally, and I thought that was pretty cool.
Overall, though, I’d still put this as a “meh” book. It wasn’t bad, but neither was it really something I’d plan on reading again (or really looked forward to reading in the first place). It’s just not my genre for one thing, and was pretty slow for such a large portion.
3/5 Discoball Snowcones
Probably the most bothersome thing about this to me was how the main character so easily chalked everything up to fate. He never told anyone about what he’d witness happen to Hasan, and… well, that secret harmed him. A lot. He didn’t forgive himself for what he’d seen as a kid until after he’d been beaten up by the same bully that had raped Hasan.
To me, that didn’t quite make sense. It was right on the tip of being totally believable, and some of the social constructs of the Afghans seemed to enforce the possibility.
Other than that, I must say the plot twist where Hasan turned out to be Amir’s half brother through an illegitimate liaison was rather well done. When that part was being revealed, I was tense and just waiting for them to say the words.
At the same time, most of the book was a little on the slow side. It was good at the beginning and through the last third, but that middle bit was… a bit harder.
Still, not a bad book to have on a list of all-time need to reads.
I’ll be reading Stieg Larsson’s Swedish hit, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Believe it or not, I finished the book, so you’ll have a good time of listening to my analysis!