Book Review: The Kite Runner

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 Book

518-tcto9clThe Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
2004
Amazon Link

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.

Non-Spoiler Review

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

3 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

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.

Next week:

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!

16 thoughts on “Book Review: The Kite Runner

  1. Jade M. Wong says:

    Ah classics, I find them very hit or miss. There are still some revered classic books I have yet to finish, despite my many efforts trying (exhibit a: Anna Karenina, even though this is considered by many to be the greatest literature ever written!) Anyway, I’m glad you finished the Kite Runner! It’s definitely a very rich, cultural, and powerful book, though I can understand why Amir’s character was frustrating for you.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I don’t know why I can’t just stop reading a book when I don’t like it. At the end of this month I am posting about the first book I’ve abandoned since Thoreau’s “Walden” which I refused to read in high school.

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        What do you count as committed reviews?

        I have very detailed rules about how I do indie/self-published book reviews, but for everything else I do the big reviews on the blog and have (recently) started putting them and some additional ones on Goodreads. I’m not sure if my “reading list” is a commitment or not, since I can change it up if I need.

      • robertawrites235681907 says:

        Hi H. I participate in Goodreads reading round reviews and I read and review four books. I commit to read and review each book within a 2 week period. I also do the odd Beta read for people in my writing group. I also read and review for two book clubs. I have one month to read and review those books. I view these as reading commitments i.e. I have to read and review them within an agreed period.

      • H.R.R. Gorman says:

        Reading round reviews? I’m going to have to look into that when I catch up on some of my currently planned reading. I usually want to get way, way ahead on my blog reviewing, so I’m starting on some of the chunkier books I’ve got planned soon!

        I’m trying to beta something right now, but boy am I finding it hard to get time to do something that isn’t audio and/or on the phone just before bedtime. I’m really glad you like to beta! It’s such a good thing to do.

      • robertawrites235681907 says:

        When do you read then? I always read at night before sleep. I am only just starting to do some beta reads on special request. I have discovered that reading other people’s work with a sharp eye improves my own writing as I am more aware of certain writing mistakes and their implications in a piece.
        The Goodreads review challenges are a great way for authors to get reviews from other unrelated people and also to meet new authors. I think you need your own book to participate though.

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