Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner
Sometimes a book doesn’t tempt me, even though I know that it would be book for me. Something I would read, something resembling books I liked in the past, books about places I consider fascinating. This one is exactly that. I guess the fact that it was a huge bestseller has put me off for a while. Sometimes it is also people who recommend it. If that person reads a lot of books I wouldn’t even consider, why bother reading this one.
Hence this book had been waiting for a while before I finally decided to give it a go. Yolanda had tried several times, but never managed to get beyond the second chapter. It took me a while as well. Even though I tried hard, the book never got me reading a second longer than I should have. Never was I dragged into the book, suddenly discovering that I was fifty pages further and the night has fallen. I just read.
Does that imply that this is a bad book? Certainly not. Does it mean I didn’t like it? Neither. But in my humble opinion the book isn’t the masterpiece most reviewers and many readers like to make of it. Perhaps if I see the movie, my opinion changes (usually favourably for the book), but I doubt it.
The two friends growing up together always feel the class gap between them. However close they sometimes seen, they are never on the same level, never really warm, never like real friends. This is obvious the intention of the author. When something terrible happens (bad enough for the scene to be deleted when shown in Afghanistan) the boys drift apart.
Afghanistan is a complicated country for outsiders. Brits, the Taliban, Soviets and these days the western coalition, they all try to organise the country the way they think it should be, though none ever succeed. None other than the locals ever will I guess. Amir, the main character, having fled to the US with his father, goes back years later to put right what went wrong years back. He has changed; his country has changed even more. He feels an outsider in his native Kabul.
Hosseini has managed to draw the chaos that is Afghanistan into his novel. He has written a good story so that he could confront the world with his country. Nothing wrong with that. He deserves all praise and the huge sales. Doesn’t make the book a masterpiece though.
Quote: “I let my tears run freely, shaking on my wobbly knees. ‘What do I do with you Hassan? What do I have to do?’ But after my tears had dried and I strolled down the hill, I knew the answer to that question.” (p.91)
Title: De vliegeraar (Orig.: The Kite Runner)
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Language: Dutch (Orig.: English)
# Pages: 351 (5350)