Sunday, February 12, 2006

Reading Journal: The Kite Runner

As I was reading the first few chapters of this book, I was thinking that I didn't see what all the hoop-la was about. Linda and Jan had both raved about it. I agreed that it was well-written, but I thought the story was less than mesmerizing. That all changed by page 62! I was up until 2:00 a.m., because I couldn't turn out the light until I came to the final page. The author didn't wrap everything up with a happily ever-after ending, but he hinted that there was hope. This is a quote about that:
"If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab, and me ends with happiness, I wouldn't know what to say. Does anybody's? After all, life is not a Hindi movie. 'Zendagi migzara', Afghans like to say: 'Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end, kamyab, nah-kam, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of kochis."

The author writes in the first person so persuasively that I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction and not an autobiography. It is a beautifully told story of loyalty and betrayal, of guilt and redemption; that age-old truth that one person's momentary action (as well as inaction) can have consequences that not only affect him, but even future generations.

Two Afghan boys were raised together. Amir was the privileged son of a wealthy, larger-than-life man; while Hassan was a servant and a member of the shunned Hazara ethnic minority. Their story covers the past 30 years of Afghanistan's history, from the final days of the monarchy, through the Russian occupation, and on through the iniquities and brutality of the Taliban.

The illustrations include a map I got off the Internet, a picture of a little Hazara boy from a geography book, and a real piece of Afghan money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's actually not entirely fiction. The author was very mindful of not wanting to write a memoir. I saw the author at a book fest and he said that it did happen but not in a fashion that he is admitting publicly.