Review: The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads is such a strange place.

It has given me much happiness, of course. I have marveled at the fact that someone halfway across the globe can feel the same way I do about a book and it's characters. Yet, it is sometimes almost painful when someone doesn't like the book you liked and for precisely the same reasons you liked it.
I have not read many books. I am young and in an engineering course to boot, so there is not much time to indulge in leisurely reading. I have read about a book a month for the past two and read three in the february, and 12 in January. You get the idea. I cannot criticize effectively, with neither the academic bent that some goodreaders are gifted with, nor with the reader's review some so eloquently write.

But, what I can do, is concede when a negative reviewer makes a good point and supports it with logical arguments. I can see reason. And that is why I have bumped one star of this review from the initial five. I loved this book. A lot.

Partly because except for one, the characters were all pockmarked with little flaws. What people saw as hypocrisy in Baba, I saw as a flaw, a very human one. There were so many instances I can relate to the characters and their decisions. Not entirely with anyone, but little actions. Like Baba and his chivalry built on a foundation of regret; like Farid's contempt for Amir when he goes back to Afghan. A little of me in Hassan when he says, for you, a thousand times over. And so on.

There is this complaint among the negative reviewers that the author tries to emotionally manipulate the reader without much subtlety. Which is true. Sometimes, it is like things happen to a character just to even things out. Just to make you feel sad. Just so there could be a point made about Afghan culture. I don't know if I should be harsh on the author, for this. He gave me a beautiful book. One with characters I can relate to, one which justified the week's coffee money spent on it. Perhaps I should, so I can get at better things. Perhaps I should not, because it then means I am expecting the author to be perfect, in presenting a story about imperfect characters.

Part of Afghanistan was once a part of India, when Jahangir ruled. A long time ago. I felt like there was this flimsy link, hidden by the ravages of time, yet in someways unbroken, that was tugged by my reading of this book. Or I am imagining. Either way, it is a great story. One I shall cherish.

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