Wednesday, September 06, 2006

[Book Review] THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini

Fiction/ Genres: International Mainstream

Laura Salehi reviews THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead Books, 2003):

Amir lives in Kabul, Afghanistan with his father (Baba), a servant (Ali), and the servant's son (Hassan). The boys' lives are different because of their status in society, but together they experience hardships and good times. Beginning in 1975, events occur that change their lives forever. Hassan has helped Amir out of trouble many times, but Amir does not find the strength within himself to either prevent or ease the effects of a horrible crime committed against Hassan. Afterwards, his actions cause Ali and Hassan to move away. A few years later, Amir and his father escape their increasingly violent homeland and go to California; then, after more than 20 years, Amir is given a difficult challenge that, if he accepts, would help him to atone for past sins. He travels back to Afghanistan in hopes of atoning for his mistreatment of Hassan.

I read The Kite Runner during a two-year series of staff development workshops about genre fiction. The novel helped me get an idea of what it was like to live in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s. It was a tragic story with an open, but not hopeful, ending; it addresses many social topics including poverty, crime, friendship, cultural traditions, and family obligations. This is a very powerful and disturbing story.

Laura Salehi, Bartlett Branch Library

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