13.8.06

The Kite Runner

"The Kite runner" by Khaled Hosseini 

made it to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list of modern fiction in paperback. The author, an Afghanistan born physician who lives in northern California, launched a smashing success with his first novel. In 1980 his father, a diplomat, received political asylum in the United States.

Struggling as confronted with the American way of life
 
It is worth mentioning the author`s background because the novel echoes the problems of immigrants from Afghanistan who had to flee from their war stricken country and who are struggling with their traditional system of values as they are being confronted with the American way of life.

The theme is friendship
 
The book`s theme, however, is the friendship between two Afghan boys whose relationship is complicated because of their father. Friendship, a problematic code of honour, archaic traditional values and the I-narrator`s call for more truth are topics that should attract students in the modern literature classroom.

The story of the two boys culminates in a contest of kite runners.

"But all I heard--all I willed myself to hear--was the thudding of blood in my head. All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelt was victory. Salvation. Redemption. If Baba was wrong and there was a God like they said in school, then He`d let me win. I didn`t know what the other guy was playing for, maybe just bragging rights. But this was my one chance to become someone who was looked at, not seen, listened to, not heard. If there was a God, He`d guide the winds, let them blow for me so that, with a tug of my string, I`d cut loose my pain, my longing. I`d endured so too much, come too far. And suddenly, just like that, hope became knowledge. I was going to win. It was just a matter of when." (K. Hosseini, The Kite Runner, New York 2004, p. 65)

Suspense, easy to understand, many dialogues
 
It is told in a masterly way, full of supsense and easy to understand with a lot of dialogue.

The New York Times Book Review writes: "This powerful first novel ... tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir: Khaled Housseini`s privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country`s revolution and its invasion by Russian forces."

Günther Miklitz

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