Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Kite Runner

I always feel late to the party.  The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was published in 2003 and was on the NYT best seller list for 2 years.  I heard it was great and got a copy and then proceeded to let it sit on my TBR shelf for the next >10 years.  I finally put in on my TBR Pile Challenge list for this year, if only to make room for other books.

I loved it.

I know so little about actual life in Afghanistan, and even less about the lives of Afghan refugees in the U.S.  I found it fascinating, compelling, horrific, and universal. Amir's relationship with his father transcends boundaries and cultures and was beautiful to read about.  Likewise, Amir's friendship with Hassan, which has shades of sibling rivalry but also sibling love and loyalty.  Close, long-term relationships are complex, fraught with expectation as well as myriad other emotions that shift in and out of focus over time, and I thought Hosseini wrote so poignantly and elegantly about those relationships with such an authentic voice that this felt more like reading a memoir than a novel.

I also loved reading about the food and customs, work and play (especially kite fighting), dreams and fears of Amir and his family, both as a child in Afghanistan as well as an adult in the Bay Area, as they watch their worlds explode and try to figure out how to keep their souls intact in the new worlds that emerge.

I have Hosseini's next book A Thousand Splendid Suns on my TBR shelf already and am planning to read it next year.  I have to say, I'm liking reading without borders--my life feels richer learning about life beyond my horizon.


  1. I love The Kite Runner! Khaled Hosseini is such a talented writer, and his books are gut-wrenching in the best possible way, if that makes sense. I've read A Thousand Splendid Suns and it's also wonderful. Incredibly sad (more so than The Kite Runner, I think), but still also an incredibly well-crafted story that makes you think and pulls out so many strong emotions. Enjoy it!!

  2. i read Hosseini's first 2 novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, more than 10 years ago. They are tough and beautifully written. Unforgettable lessons . Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  3. I have had A Thousand Splendid Suns on my shelves for years. I've left it there because I wanted to read The Kite Runner first, but so far I haven't read either because I haven't got a copy of The Kite Runner! With so many books to read I forgot - so thanks for the reminder - maybe next year ...

  4. I was late to the party as well - I read this with a book group a couple of years ago. It was the first books I'd read set in Afghanistan, and by a Afghan writer, and I was fascinated by the setting and the story. I'd meant to go on to A Thousand Splendid Suns but never did - thank you for the reminder.

  5. I tend to be late to many parties myself :)

    I also have not read this but I would like to. I have read a fair number of accounts of the life of everyday people in Afghanistan. It is enlightening.

  6. The Kite Runner is terrific. His 2nd book is very dark about oppressed, abused women -- and while it's good, it's not as riveting as The Kite Runner. But worthy of a read. The part about the kites was magic.