Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

This one is quite simply incredible. I don’t normally choose to read things just because they’re popular, but I really can see why The Kite Runner became the best-seller it is.

It tells the story of the young boy Amir and his friend Hassan, the son of his Hazara servant. We see them growing up together, their separation, and how their destinies ultimately intertwine. This very personal, human story is set against the harsh inhumanity of the Afghan war, from which Amir escapes as a teenager, and revisits the country later in life.

Hosseini’s stark, direct style somehow conjures up vivid images far more effectively than florid description could have done, and what is left unsaid is at least as important as what is stated openly. Hope and love go hand-in-hand with searing heart-break throughout, sometimes even within the same paragraph.

The use of foreign words in the text, for food, clothing, religious terms, and so on, isn’t intrusive or confusing, and very much adds to the flavour of the novel. On a personal level, I grew up with family friends from the Afghan area, and filling in some of the blanks about the dangers and hardships they’d seen and escaped from on coming to the UK really hit home for me.

As I’ve said before, I don’t usually go for modern novels, especially those with a political or war-based setting, but this one’s amazing. If you haven’t already read it, do so. You won’t regret it! (Unless it makes you burst into tears in public, that could be awkward. Try not to do that.)

Next up: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

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