The Kite Runner definitely clarifies the dividing line between Booklove’s classifications of “Liked It” and “It Was OK”. I will not waste much time with the plot, because if you haven’t heard or seen the movie by now, you’re probably living under a rock. Briefly, though, for those rock dwellers such as me, the plot concerns two friends, Amir and Hassan, and their lives from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the present. Amir is the son of a wealthy and prominent man, and Hassan is the son of Amir’s father’s servant, Ali.
Amir lives in the shadow of his handsome, noble Baba, ever unable to live up to his father’s expectations while Hassan is made to suffer the brunt of his community’s ethnic hate toward Hazaras. Two major problems I have with this novel are Amir’s constant whining, which continues well into adulthood, and Mr. Hosseini’s need to bludgeon the reader with his characters’ every thought and motivation. Subtlety is not in Mr. Hosseini’s repertoire of writing skills.
However, while it is extremely easy to nit-pick a novel to shreds, the more difficult assessment involves finding what is right with a novel. So in all fairness to Mr. Hosseini, here is what I found entertaining about The Kite Runner: The story of Amir and his Baba’s time in America was handled very well, especially the scenes of the Afghan flea market and Amir’s courtship of Soraya, which were the least contrived portions of the book. Here the tale seemed to flow seamlessly while giving the reader a delightful insight into Afghan culture, which I found fascinating. No matter how dire life’s circumstances, Baba, a proud and once wealthy man, adjusts himself to life’s circumstances with strength and humility, and I felt more for the character of Baba than Amir. It is only when Mr. Hosseini returns the story to Afghanistan that the plot once more becomes contrived with the evil, Hitler-loving Assef (motto: “Afghanistan for Pashtuns”) taking the stage once more. Does Amir defeat the evil Assef and achieve the redemption he seeks? Well, I’m not telling, because I can assure you that Mr. Hosseini will drive the point home relentlessly so that there will be no . . . doubt . . . in . . . your . . . mind.
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