The Kite Runner – Book Review

[My brother, Mat Salo, requested this book review a while ago. So, this post is dedicated to him with hope that he won’t be so lonely out there at the rig].

Mat Salo is dead wrong this time around: Khaled Hosseini does not labour each word in The Kite Runner, he romances them. One could not pencil such a poignant story just by labouring, he must have been in love with those powerful verbs punched all over the book.

Hosseini’s debut novel exudes class and edges on the border of perfection. I read countless of books – fiction, non-fiction, autobiography, history, memoir, travel narratives, science and literature – but Hosseini’s book, by far, supersedes the modern day literature’s benchmark.

If I were to be in the panel, I give him the Booker award – a thousand times over. I find myself confounded with admiration at the end of such a pleasant reading journey. A gripping tale that would rip your heart in pieces – a thousand times over. You have got to read the book to understand how haunting the phrase “a thousand times over” can be.

Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan medical doctor by training. The US granted him a political asylum in 1980 following a civil conflict that devastated his homeland.

Hosseini has a rare gift – a gift to tell a story. Everything about this book – the prose, the plots, the characters – are developed confidently leaving no room for criticism. Save and except for one minor spelling mistake as the author describes the protagonist’s birthday party, all is good in this book. There is nothing showy about his writing style; only a gripping storyline that flows through the pages.

I have always wondered about life and political upheaval in Afghanistan and Hosseini kills my curiosity for good as he weaves a perfect fabric of life in Afghanistan and its history. Hosseini’s book transcends all barriers. I don’t have to be in Afghanistan to learn about the author’s beloved homeland, I just have to read The Kite Runner with my heart wide-opened. Hosseini writes a true page-turner and his readers will instill trust into the characters when the story develops. As the plot thicken, Hosseini tests your emotion and principles like no other debut authors.

The story spans through decades of change in Afghanistan starting from the sacking of the monarchy until the fall of the ruthless Taliban. Everything you ever imagine about Afghanistan is painted as clear as a cloudless sky in this book. The protagonist, Amir, is a son of a wealthy merchant and his life is largely entertwined with Hassan – the son of his father’s servant cum closest-confidante. In a cruel twist of fate, Amir witnessed a ghastly crime committed against Hassan but he didn’t come to Hassan’s defense. His choice not to speak up for Hassan haunts him a lifetime.

Subplot comes in a form of a woman in Amir’s life, Soraya, and her eccentric family. Soraya’s father is an army general who would not lift a finger for a living and cash in social security cheques to feed his family in the US. He waited for years to be called back to Afghanistan to re-serve the army; the only job he thought worthy for someone of his stature.

In short, this sweeping story revolves around love, friendship, history, ultimate betrayal and subsequent redemption. The fight of Hazara – an ethnic minority group – in Afghanistan is also highlighted in the book’s main plot.

I fervently hope that the movie would do justice to Hosseini’s masterpiece. On another note, I have also finished his second book – A Thousand Splendid Suns – which is equally as splendid as his debut novel. Ah, Hosseini…

Please, just buy the book.

  • Title: The Kite Runner
  • Local Price: RM35.50 (MPH)
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 978-0-7475-9489-5

[Image stolen from here].


9 thoughts on “The Kite Runner – Book Review

  1. Elviza, I’m leaving a print here for the first time simply because I soooooooo agree with you! In fact I posted an entry on this book too immediately after reading it some time back! Thanks for reminding me of that ‘feel’ again…

    Ohhh Ms Hart my previous client (wink wink!). How are you? Lama ta kupdate blog nampak? He he he he. I am glad you enjoyed the Kite Runner. It is truly a master piece isnt it?

  2. I heard so much about this book, I expected to love it when I picked it up. While I really enjoyed the first part of the novel, I really disliked the second part. When I finished reading it, I understood my mixed feelings. I loved learning about Afghanistan, and its pre and post Taliban history. I think Hosseini does a beautiful job of drawing the reader into a world that is foreign and fascinating but also familiar and warm. As I was reading the first part of the novel, I could almost see Afghansitan, feel the pride and shame of the class system, experience the rush of the kite races.
    As I read on, I became less enchanted with this novel. After the excitement of discovering Hosseini’s Afghanistan was over, I found the plot implausible and silly. I thought the plot developments were contrived, over coincidental and forced. I also thought the second half of the novel was over-sentimental.
    While I think Kite Runner is definately a book worth reading just for Hosseini’s beautiful prose and his startling and poigniant powers of description, the plot was hackneyed.

    thank you for your input Sally. As always I welcome both sides of opinions. Hope you enjoy your current read as we speak…

  3. Sister;
    The book “A thousand splendid suns” is a must read and must buy. Even lovelier than Kite Run, because it tells the story about women – something really close to our hearts.

    Guarantee you will lose a thousand splendid tears 🙂

    Sis, I lost tears reading both of his books! So kememeh…

  4. i read this book a while ago. touching.

    now i’m waiting for the movie to come out.

    I just hope that the movie does justice to Hosseini’s beautiful narration. I dont think movies on Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring did justice to the author. Then again, who’s asking? 🙂

  5. Hello Sis,
    I read the Kite Runner when it came out a couple of years ago. And I was so affected by it. The impact stayed with me for a longest time.
    And yes you need to read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Sure boleh nangis punya.

    Dear Bapak,

    I don’t think I can ever write a review on A Thousand Splendid Suns perspectively. The abuse against women angers both of my heart and brain! Many questioned Hosseini whether his stories are, in fact, autobiographical? He retains that they are all fictional. I have my doubts though…

  6. As always the clueless Mat Salo is late to the party – A Thousand Splendid APOLOGIES sis!!!

    Now that I’m sold on the SPLENDID review but being the tightwad that I am .. and seeing that you’ve finished it, err, would you be so kind to loan it to me? 🙂

    Ah, its better late than never brother! (eiiieee… so cliche! Must avoid cliche like a plague!). I got the book and I ll give it to you soon. Do you want A Thousand Splendid Suns as well?

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