Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Haiti Trip Reading Selection #3: The Kite Runner

Bobby Ferlmann told me about this book by Afghani-American Khaled Hosseini, a few days before I left for Haiti, as we were standing in line at Office Depot. I told him we were adopting a child from Haiti, and it put him in mind of this novel, though it’s not really about international adoption. I really enjoyed this book. Like Isabel Allende says in a quote on the cover, “This is one of those unforgettable stories that stays with you for years. All the great themes of literature and of life are the fabric of this extraordinary novel: love, honor, guilt, fear, redemption.”

Without giving too much away, the book is about how one man, actually a boy, twice betrays the person who loves him most, changing both of their lives forever. The big question the book addresses is this: after committing a major crime, it is possible for one to redeem oneself? Happily for all of us imperfect creatures, the answer is yes. “There is a way to be good again.”

The Kite Runner also highlights some of the terrible prejudices that exist between different ethnic groups in a country. The reader learns a lot about what Afghanistan was like before the invasion of the Soviet Union and the rise of the evil, fascist Taliban. Hosseini, like many foreign born English-language writers, has a lucid straightforward writing style; he strings his words together, like a pure stream of water running through the reader.

So would I recommend this book? For you, dear reader, “a thousand times over.”

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