The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The story grabbed me from the start, shook me around for a while, and never really let me rest. The array of issues covered in this novel is quite amazing. Family relationships, jealousy, friendship, racism, pedophilia, living under Shari'a law, moral law, fondness for one's homeland, and an endless list of issues.
The story was awesome and made a lot of sense, meaning it was easy to follow along and not have to make stretches of the imagination to understand how things fit together.
I thought two things were predictable. I knew early on what the true relationship was between Amir and Hassan. It was just a matter of time before that was revealed. The other being when the orphanage director said "the man with the sunglasses". The first person that came to mind was exactly who it ended up being. Maybe I am a genius. Maybe it was predictable. I would bet on the predictable part. That being said, it did not matter. Neither of these "twists" made or ruined the story for me. There was a lot more going on that trying to surprise me with a twist.
Rarely have I found myself hating a fictional character. This book succeeded in doing that for me. That to me is a sign of excellent writing. The character Assef really boils my blood. A sadistic and egotistical pedophile, a Hitler loving Nazi-sympathizer. He ends up being a Taliban executioner. He leads a military group to murder Hazara men, women and children. He goes to the orphanage and buys children, male and female, to make his slaves and sexually assault. This character has all the makings of the most evil guy ever. I hated him throughout the story.
The relationships between Amir and Hassan, Amir and Baba, and Amir and Rahim Khan were very well played out. Each interaction gave a little more understanding and insight to the way things were for these people.
I also found that I enjoyed a glimpse into the world of the Muslim faith, a quick history of Afghanistan, the Afghan way of life, the perceived differences between Pashtun and Hazara, and a part of the world that I know little about.
Yes, this is a fiction novel, but I see Afghanistan as something more than a place full of Taliban and Muslim extremists trying to kill Americans. I knew there was more to the country than that, but this opened my eyes a little further. That is always a good result.
What could make this book even better? Not a lot, but I would love to see a sequel where Sohrab joins the US Army and ends up in Afghanistan...and running across, on purpose of course, the Taliban jackass that had stolen so much from his life. :-)
Would I recommend this book? "For you, a thousand times over."
It was excellent.
So, after I wrote this review I did a quick Google search about the book. What came up? A movie? This book was made into a movie in 2007! I had no idea. So, I went right to NetFlix and popped it to the top of the que. :-) I hope it isn't ruined in typical hollywood fashion.