'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini - Book Review

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is one of the best books I have read in years. This is a page turner with complex characters and situations that will make you think hard about friendship, good and evil, betrayal, and redemption. It is intense and contains some graphic scenes; however, it is not gratuitous. A great book by many measures.

Reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

On one level, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is the story of two boys in Afghanistan and Afghan immigrants in America. It is a story set in a culture that has become of increasing interest to Americans since the September 11, 2001, attacks. It also explores the history of the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. On this level, it provides a good way for people to learn more about Afghan history and culture in the context of the story.

Looking at The Kite Runner as a story about culture, however, misses what the book is really about. This is a novel about humanity. This is a story about friendship, loyalty, cruelty, longing for acceptance, redemption, and survival. The core story could be set in any culture because it deals with issues that are universal.

The Kite Runner looks at how the main character, Amir, deals with a secret in his past and how that secret shaped who he became. It tells of Amir's childhood friendship with Hassan, his relationship with his father and growing up in a privileged place in society. I was drawn in by Amir's voice. I sympathized with him, cheered for him and felt angry with him at different points. Similarly, I became attached to Hassan and his father. The characters became real to me, and it was difficult for me to put the book down and leave their world.

I highly recommend this book, especially for book clubs. For those of you who are not in a reading group, read it and then loan it to a friend. You are going to want to talk about it when you finish.