Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This is a very different kind of book from those I usually post on.  If I take one of the categories from www.askmeaboutbooks.co.uk, this would definitely come under "thought provoking".  It's not a book for the faint hearted - not perhaps as harrowing as some of his more recent work, but still not one to read as entertainment.
Afghan society, civil war and the Russian invasion during the cold war form the back drop to a story about a father and son who don't understand one another and the need of the son to be accepted by his father.
The writing style is very smooth and, although it is incredibly atmospheric, I didn't feel as though I was drowning in descriptives as can sometimes be the case.  Set mainly in Afghanistan but also in the USA, Hosseini invites the reader to explore his culture with a mixture of affection and critique.
Interestingly his main character 'Amir' is not one to warm to, his attitudes and actions are uncomfortable.  The reader is not called upon to empathise with his situation.  Although one of the themes is redemption, there is a sense throughout that any redemption gained will only be superficial and will only come at great cost.
Certainly an enlightening book, challenging and engaging but not one for a lazy afternoon relaxing in the sunshine.

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