Sunday, March 30, 2008

Taking Things Too Far

After hearing many proclamations of The Kite Runner's greatness, I thought I would give it a chance, and while I wasn't disappointed, I also can't help but wonder who runs the hype machine and how they decide what gets pumped out of it.

The basic story is that Amir, the main character, must return to Afghanistan 20 years after he and his father fled the violence engulfing the country in the wake of the Soviet invasion. Amir's best friend (and servant), Hasaan desperately needs his assistance, and Amir needs to forgive himself for his betrayal of Hasaan years before he fled to America.

Hosseini paints a vivid picture of Afghanistan - from the idyllic days preceding the end of the monarchy to the nightmare of the Taliban; it's clear that he dearly loves his home, and suffers for the excesses of the Taliban. He creates an almost too-perfect character in Hasaan, who sacrifices and pays a heavy price for his loving heart and nobility (it was like he took the character of Jim from Huckleberry Finn and tried to REALLY make him suffer). The characters are engaging and it's hard to put this book down, but it seems like Hosseini became so wrapped up in suffering and redemption that he couldn't resist adding just one more twist to the entire story.

Having said that, I did enjoy reading this far more than other products of the hype machine (I'm looking at you, DaVinci Code). The Kite Runner, while in my opinion, a little flawed, alternates between gripping, horrifying and heart-wearming, which is a great trick. I'll definitely pick up Hosseini's next novel sometime soon.


Dina said...

I went to see the movie. My husband and I both enjoyed it. We rarely go see a movie unless we think it's worth seeing. I didn't read this book but I read his other book, "Thousand Splendid Suns." I think Khaled Hosseini writing is somewhat excellent.

Farrell said...

i'm with you on the da vinci code.