If you’ve read my review of ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ you’ll know that I find Hosseini’s work both powerful and heartbreaking. ‘The Kite Runner’ certainly fits that description too! As suggested in my previous review, Khaled Hosseini uses his work to portray the history of Afghanistan and explores the traditions and cultures that make the country. In contrast to ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, this text predominantly observes a male point of view, exploring a friendship between two young boys who are of different ethnic groups existing within Afghanistan.
I studied this text at A Level which really let me grasp a deeper understanding of the cultures that were portrayed within the text. Although this book does explore some of the aspects of Afghanistan conflicts that a reader may be familiar with, it also explores the internal conflicts between Pashtun and Hazara ethnicities, the latter being an ethnic minority within Afghanistan. The way that Hosseini observes the two ethnicities through the eyes of children is fascinating, and as his protagonist grows into an adult there is a clear change as to how he approaches this particular issue, as well as new ones that he faces as Afghanistan is taken over by the Taliban. In this way, the novel is very much a Bildungsroman (a coming of age story) where the reader is observes the development of the protagonist and country alike.
Like ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ this book deals with some horrific events, that would certainly have occurred in real life within the setting it is placed. This makes the reading of it the more harrowing but powerful, it really makes you consider how fortunate we are to have been born and bought up in different circumstances than many children across the world. It was difficult to read some parts, but the ending is definitely worth it, there is at least, some form of light to be found at the end of the tunnel for the protagonist.
I definitely recommend this book, and the other works of Hosseini. It is not only a gripping tale but also one that serves a purpose in teaching it’s readers about a culture that has often been overlooked by many, if not recently forgotten. I think I will definitely be re-reading this soon as it has been around five years since I last read it!