Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Change your view of the world... read "The Kite Runner"

Sometimes books can powerfully change the way you view certain aspects of your world. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was such a book for me.

I'll confess, when a friend of mine sent me Klaled Hosseini's two books, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading them. She had spoken glowingly of both books earlier and included a note in the books telling me that The Kite Runner was the first, but if I only had time for one to please read A Thousand Splendid Suns. My genre of choice in reading is usually mystery, science fiction and similar. However, timing is everything and I ran out of books the day after I received the pair. I figured I'd give them a shot. I hate to start with the second in what I thought at the time was a series, so I picked up The Kite Runner thinking I'd force myself to get through it if needed (that written by a person who would read a shampoo bottle if nothing else were available...).

To steal a partial line from Hosseini's second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I have just begun... I read with enchantment.

When I put the book down I had a different view of my world. I spent half a lifetime in someone else's shoes and my own shoes didn't quite fit the same.

Hosseini drew me into the mind of young Amir giving me glimpses of life in Afghanistan before the Taliban, the Russians and others changed an entire culture. I saw the United States through Amir's eyes as he and his father adjusted to the loss of more than just a comfortable way of life. The book carried me through roughly thirty years of tumultuous and sometimes horrific history, past September 11th, then back around to a bit of hope.

The Kite Runner is more than just a story about a changing world, it's a story of relationships and growth. It's simply written yet powerfully riveting. It slightly knocked my comfortable world of it's axis a bit, giving me a little bit better understanding of another culture on a personal level.

Hosseini is an excellent storyteller. After reading The Kite Runner, I can't imagine that A Thousand Splendid Suns could be better, but I'm in the process of finding out! I'm on page 5, I'll let you know what I think when I finish.

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
Riverhead Books
Published by the Penguin Group