Monday, 18 April 2011

Book Review 3: The Kite Runner

Book Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Price: P295.00 (National Bookstore)
Genre: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Friendship
Number of Pages:  401
Personal Rating: 10/10 
Reading Difficulty: Easy- medium 

Book Summary (back page):
The Kite Runner tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, Khaled Hosseini's privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country's revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story. Khaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence- forces that continue to threaten them even today. 

Personal Thoughts:

Recently, I've been reading a lot of books and there were some, which I think were brilliant, but not as brilliant as this one, The Kite Runner! After so many years, I finally found another book that I can call a favorite of mine. Yes, it's THAT good. 

But then, there's nothing special with how it was written. As you can see above, I rated the reading difficulty as easy- medium only. It also lacks some descriptive principles that usually decorate novels such as this one. The author, Khaled Hosseini, also did not use high highfalutin words. His writing style is so straightforward that the readers (particularly myself), will not be able to appreciate it on its own; I mean, there are some books that are so thick but is only focused on one event. Tracy Chevalier's books are an example of this. The best embodiment for this though is Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness." If you'd just take a moment to scrutinize these books, you'll find that there's only a single event such as in The Heart of Darkness; it's all about a man's journey into Africa... But then, why does the book consist of more than a hundred pages? The answer to that is simple. The author is a genius in describing details: Emotions, places, scenarios, etc. Sometimes, I even reach the point when I do not want to stop reading. I just want to savor each exquisite word that the author has written! Anyway, I'm already rambling here, so let's get back to my point. If the literary style of the writer is not as good as the others, what makes this book oh-so-special?

First, I love the POV. You assume the role of Amir all throughout so you feel every single emotion that he feels. You also get to see the events unfolding through his eyes alone. Somehow, you'd want to know more of the other character's feelings, which is great by the way for a reader. There's a sense of finality, but you're still looking for something more. Second, the theme of the book is very discernible. It's all about  redemption; as a reader, I appreciate this fact since straight away, I understood the moral of the story, which affected me greatly. Third, the plot is good. The author may have not used a lot of flowery words and complex writing styles to complement the terrific story, but the plot more than makes up for this drawback
So, what's the plot all about? It it is about the drastic changes that happened in Afghanistan due to political warfare. In itself, the political aspect of the plot is heavy enough to warrant emphasis, but the real focus of this book lies on the struggle of the characters in a moral aspect, which brings me to reason number four on why I think this is such an awesome book. I think the essence of this book lies on the author's characterization. You can practically identify with the characters! Amir's guilt, Hassan's loyalty, the honor of Amir's father, Rahim Khan's helpfulness...As the story unfolds, you would actually assume the role of Amir and feel the great burden that he is carrying. Amir's father is also a character to behold. He is so  honorable! Imagine, even at gunpoint, he never wavered in protecting a stranger! But, I've got to say that the redeeming part of this book for me is probably in the personification of Hassan. Hassan is the very definition of kind and loyal. As the story progresses, the reader is left wishing that there's also a Hassan in his/ her life, which is true in my case. Despite these good qualities of Hassan, you'd also be quite annoyed with him because he would make you look bad.As Amir once said,  "Hassan is so goddamn pure that you'd feel like a phony around him." 
This pure core of Hassan is what brought trouble to Amir. I would not expound on this anymore since it would act as a spoiler. All I can say is that Amir was driven to commit the worst of all sins (which, according to Amir's father, is lying) just so he could get rid of Hassan. From that point forward, everything fell into ruins as Amir finds out in his adult life. In the end, it seems like there's no redemption for Amir, but you'd see subtle hints that there may still be hope. It's ironic that I kept on saying that Khaled Hosseini's style is so straighforward, but in the end, he shows his theme in a very subtle way. It's irony in all its finest: The ending is good because it showed a glimmer of hope, but the reader will be left asking, "so, what's gonna happen?" The answer to that may lie on Khaled Hosseini's book "A Thousan Splendid Suns," which I cannot wait to read~! 

This all boils down into one question: would I recommend this book? DEFINITELY, 100%!

Anyway, I'm sorry for the dreadful quality of this book review. I guess, I'm just not in the right state of mind to do this, but since this is my favorite book, I was really compelled to write this review... All I can say is that nothing can fully describe the joy that I felt while reading this book. I still have so much to say, but I cannot write down all my praises. You'll just have to figure that one out on your own so read it now!

Favorite Excerpts:

The cuts stung and didn't heal for a couple of weeks, but I didn't mind. They were reminders of a beloved season that had once again passed too quickly.

His saying that made me kind of sad. Sad for who Hassan was, where he lived. For how he'd accepted the fact that he'd grown old in that mud shack in the yard, the way his father had.

That was the thing with Hassan. He was so goddamn pure, you always felt like a phony around him.

When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing.

"Yelda" was the starless night tormented lovers kept vigil, enduring the endless dark, waiting for the sun to rise and bring with it their loved ones. After I met Soraya Tahiri, every night of the week became a yelda for me.

We Afghan, we're melancholic people. We wallow too much in Ghamkhori and self- pity. We give in to loss, to suffering, and accept t as a fact of life, even see it as necessary. Zendangi Migzara, we say, life goes on.

How seamless seemed love and then came trouble!

I am so afraid because I'm so profoundly happy. Happiness like this is frightening. They only let you be this happy if they're preparing to take something from you.
A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer.

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the funfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up and slipping away unanswered in the middle of the night.

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