I first read this book as part of my English A-level a few years ago, and I loved it then. However, instead of reading the book for the sole purpose of passing an exam on it, I actually wanted to read it again in order that I could enjoy it for its literary beauty, without needing to make notes on key themes and motifs. Even when I was reading this book at sixth form, I didn’t want to put it down, and that didn’t change this time around.
The reader is immediately hooked into the narrative by the end of the short first chapter, where Amir refers back to his past, and his reflective nature instantly makes him a likeable character, so the reader can identify with him from the beginning of the book. Another thing that begins from the very first few pages is the emotional roller coaster that the reader is taken on- sentiments dart drastically from hope, to fear, to sheer devastation in the space of just a handful of paragraphs.
The Kite Runner beautifully shows how relationships, whether these are family, friendships, or amorous, can affect an individual. It also displays how these relationships can differ, not only from one culture to another, but also from one individual to another: it gets into the nitty gritty of what human nature it and, whilst this can be incredibly harrowing, it is most interesting.
The non-chronological narrative style of The Kite Runner really works to show the chaos felt by characters, not only within themselves, but also in the country they reside in. I like how Hosseini moves the perspective back and forth, because it makes the events within the narrative all the more vivid and heart wrenching. In fact, it is the knowing that the events Hoseinni recounts, such as the half-time ‘entertainment’ (if anyone could really call it that), did actually, and to some extent still do, take place, in parts of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
I think what makes The Kite Runner such an impressive novel (though I feel that ‘impressive’ doesn’t quite express how much it impressed me), is the real sense of authenticity throughout it. Not only is it authentic with regards to the history and politics of the physical and temporal setting, it is also authentic in the way that the characters seem so genuine- especially those of Amir and Hassan. I truly get the impression that the book’s characters come from deep in Hosseini’s heart, and that each and every one of them mean something important to him in one way or another.
From the very first to the very last page, Hosseini’s attention to detail, literary genius and tact is truly astounding. Even when I was disgusted by some of the events that took place, I was simultaneously awestruck by the author’s ability to portray such horrifying things in such a beautiful way, without making anything appear grotesque or sensationalised. Nothing ever felt exaggerated or unnecessary, I got the impression that, to Hosseini, every word in the book had a purpose, and had been considered carefully before it was written.
To conclude, I would not simply recommend this book, I would actively encourage everyone to read The Kite Runner. It taught me so much about the horrors of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, but also about human nature and about myself through my reactions to what I was reading. I genuinely don’t believe that I have ever been so impressed by a contemporary author, nor so compelled to read more of their work- and I cannot wait to read A Thousand Splendid Suns now, either.