Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

4.5 stars

I bought this book years ago and started it, but never finished. When my boyfriend mentioned that it was his favourite book, I decided to pick it up again. Once I started reading, I didn't understand why I had ever stopped. It is a really good book, especially since English isn't the author's first language - his command of English is excellent (very reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro). It has won several awards like; the Boeke Prize, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great Writers Award and the Literature to Life award.

It was made into a film and released in 2007 - have a look at the trailer.I haven't seen it yet, but I would love to. I highly recommend this book. I loved it so much that the next book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns - also by Khaled Hosseini.  It is heart-wrenching and tells you much about the author's view of life in Afghanistan in the 60s. This is one of those books that changes how you think. Read it.

Amir and Hassan have brown up like brothers, playing together throughout their young lives. The difference between them being that Hassan is Amir's servant's son, and a Hazara - an ethnic minority.  As they grow, Afghanistan is changing. They love running kites, a national pastime, and strive to win the local competition. On the day, the boys race to get the last kite that has fallen so they can win. The two separate, and Amir then sees Hassan being attacked by two of their peers. He pretends not to see and takes the kite home to show his father, Baba. Years go on and Amir and his father relocate to USA, where they will be safer. They struggle financially for a while and when things get better, Baba gets sick. Amir falls in love and gets married, always haunted by the thought of Hassan. When Baba dies, he gets a message from his old mentor, who wants Amir to visit him in Pakistan. Amir goes and Rahim Khan tells him that Hassan in dead, but his son is still alive but captured by the Taliban. Amir goes to find him and realises that the same man who attacked Hassan is now abusing his son, Sohrab. A struggle ensues, and Sohrab manages to use his slingshot to shoot the man in the eye, the pair escape and Amir asks Sohrab to live with him. The adoption official says it is near impossible, as there is no way to prove his parents are dead. Amir tells Sohrab he may have to live in an orphanage for a while. Amir and his wife manage to get through the red tape and adopt Sohrab, only to find he has tried to kill himself. He lives, but doesn't talk. When they take him back to California, he is still withdrawn. Until one day, Amir takes Sohrab kite-running and manages to get a smile out of him.

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