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BOOK REVIEW: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini



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Daddy issues are fast becoming a modern day cliché. Although there are men out here who are doing the best they can to be responsible, loving and caring fathers, their deadbeat counterparts are more pronounced.

By deadbeat, I am also referring to fathers who provide financially, but that’s as far as it goes, showing love is a foreign concept to them.

My friend recommended I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini claiming that I would love the fresh perspective and intricate details on daddy issues in the book.

At first, I was nonchalant because I felt I had read so much on today’s failing fathers from newspaper articles, scientific studies and even social media timelines when people opted to celebrate their moms on Father’s day.

I only got the book because I had previously read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author and I could not put down; I read it in one sitting. I figured The Kite Runner wouldn’t be so bad.

Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan from Kabul and he tells stories in the setting of his hometown–at least for the two books I have read.

In addition, he was named a US goodwill envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency and both his books have snippets of war skirmishes, plight of refugees and rebuilding life after war.

These first-hand experiences make him create characters that jump to life the moment you begin to flip through the pages. My encounter with The Kite Runner lasted a straight six hours, with very few bathroom breaks in between.

The father-son strained relationship narrative was in there alright, but nothing like I have experienced before. The story is told in the voice of the son seeking his father’s affirmation; it is told with heart wringing vulnerability that shows the extremities of the human soul in seeking approval.

The author sneaks in some Farsi (one of the Iranian languages spoken in Afghanistan) vocabulary that draws you deeper into this universe of pain, loss, revenge and…redemption.

The language bears some resemblance to our Swahili for instance, they call wedding awroussi which sounds much like harusi in Swahili.

I enjoyed trying to pronounce the Farsi words while blinking back tears because it is one sad story.

What is a good story without family secrets? The author unpacks secrets with each turn of the story and at one point, I felt like he was beginning a whole new book right in the middle of the story.

He captures real life experiences in all their unpredictability, imperfection and grandeur.

My experience was such that days after turning the last page, I kept thinking of these characters and what they went through to finally get redemption. The richness of the plot makes it a well deserving bestseller.

As a subscriber to gender equality, I feel that the female’s characters were underplayed in this particular book.

However, having read his other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, that is headlined by strong women, I believe that his choice to undertone women in The Kite Runner was more of serving the story plot and not necessarily his stand on gender equality.

'A Thousand Splendid Suns' also another bestseller book by Khaled Hosseini.

‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ also another bestseller book by Khaled Hosseini. PHOTO| MARION MAINA

It is said not to judge a book by its cover but if you did so with The Kite Runner, you wouldn’t be off the mark.

There is a photo of a section of Iran, which also features somewhere inside the story. The haziness and grey clouds hovering over the buildings depict doom, which looms throughout the story in the form of poverty, war, hate and yes…the destroyer of our times, cancer.

The book is easy to carry around and it is an easy read. The title of the book is not telling at all, which provokes curiosity, and there is no better state to begin reading a book like when you are curious, right?

If you are looking to have a quiet evening enjoying a good book, I would readily recommend The Kite Runner. Just ensure you have a box of tissues within reach, and if you are a heavy crier, get a couple of heavy handkerchiefs—you will need them.