Book Review: The Kite Runner

The front cover of my copy of The Kite Runner.
The front cover of my copy of The Kite Runner.

The Kite Runner was written by Khaled Hosseini. It is widely well known due to its adaptation into a feature film. I was getting ready to fly to Calgary, Alberta to visit my friends and attend the Calgary Stampede (Yahoo!), and therefore was looking for something to keep my mind busy for the 4 hr flight there (and 3.5 hour flight back… yay jet stream!). I ended up perusing my Mom’s book shelf, and she recommended, among other things, The Kite Runner. Taking a quick flip through it looked like something I could read before the trip was over so I nabbed it and off I went to Calgary.
This book tells the story of an Afghani named Amir, who grew up in Afghanistan before the Monarch was dethroned, and then Amir fled to the United States with his father when things became really bad with the Soviet Invasion of 1979. While that is the geographical and political backdrop of the book, the story is about friendship, family, guilt, and atonement. During his younger days, Amir witnesses a brutal act of violence against a dear friend of his, but he was too frightened to intervene. For most of the rest of his life, Amir carries around the guilt associated with that. It weighs on him. It shapes him. In fact, I felt it had a lot of similar undertones to Crime & Punishment by Dostoevsky, as well as the more modern treatment of the theme in The Machinist with Christian Bale.
Aside from the wonderfully woven plot, Hosseini also gives an intimate view of how international war and internal struggle has ravaged a once peaceful nation. I enjoyed seeing a little more of the other side of the story of Afghanistan, and hope that it has done much in the way of educating North Americans.
It was a heart wrenching book that I couldn’t put down. I quite easily finished it on my flights to/from Calgary.
Highly recommended. Happy Reading!

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