Book Review of The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

I especially like to read about life in other countries and in different eras. In part one, Hosseini describes the Afghanistan of his protagonist's childhood as a lovely place, rich in culture and vivid with colors; it unfolds like a beautiful tapestry. The relationships between young protagonist Amir and his friend/servant Hassan as well as his father, while complicated, are compelling and 3-dimensional. Amir is a conflicted, and at times unappealing character, yet the author allows him to hold on to the readers' attention and even sympathy. The story in part one is believable, the writing is crisp, and the plot moves along at a fast clip. I was very drawn in to reading about these folks' lives in a well-to-do suburb of Kabul circa 1970s.

Unfortunately, their beloved country is invaded and Amir and his father escape to settle in the U.S. They remake their lives rather humbly in Fremont, CA (home of the largest population of Afghans in America). Fremont in real life is actually nowhere near as dreary as the author describes, and part two of the book slows to a crawl.

In part three, Amir is now in his thirties and living in San Francisco with his barren wife when he gets an urgent call to visit an old family friend who has relocated to Pakistan. The friend, now dying, urges Amir to return to war-torn, Taliban controlled Kabul to right the wrongs of his childhood. Part three is a disappointment as Amir journeys to save a young boy from the ravaged homeland; the author uses many unbelievable plot devices and concocts fantastic coincidences to get through this section. Section three also unfortunately contains the story's crudest, most one-dimensional characters, whose actions are borderline cartoon-like. Finally returning Amir to the U.S., the story rambles into a run-on sentence of sorts, eventually sputtering to a lackluster conclusion.

The story is still worth a read -- at least to enjoy part one.