The Kite Runner – review

How soon my views can be challenged? While reviewing Cuckold, I had argued in favour of a great story ahead of complex literary techniques. Many believe the The Kite Runner has a great story to tell and a moving story. Yes, the story is interesting and at times, moving. Yes, the book has enough to be a pageturner. But something is missing.

By no stretch of imagination can Kite Runner be classified as a great or even a good piece of literature. At best, it is an interesting story with impeccable timing of publishing, when the world, and Americans in particular, wanted to know more about Afghanistan. A few years earlier or a few years later, the Khaled Hosseini could have struggled to find a publisher and even if he did, the book would have got nowhere closer to the best sellers list.

The novel is written, clearly with the Western audience in mind. As a result, there is over-elaboration of events and words when not required and over-simplification of issues. If one wants to understand the thread of the Afghan society and the reasons for the rise of fundamentalist Taliban, this book doesn’t offer any answers. Super-imposing the school-bully-sociopath character of Aseef on Taliban is a shortcut the author should have avoided taking – this is straight out of mainstream cinema. Schindler’s List also had such a character but the depiction was with much more clarity – it came out quite certainly that a socio-path uses the cover of a fundamentalist racist regime to unleash his inner evil. But I think there is much more to religious fundamentalism than just the whims of a socio-path.

However most Americans might love such a depiction of Taliban – an organization consisting of cruel socio-paths and paedophiles, who supervise footballers running around in full trousers. This explains why the book was a major success. Nobody is interested to know why religious fundamentalism arose, how the common man, whithout whose support this cannot happen, is drawn towards the fundamentalist. Definitely the author is not interested into getting into deeper layers of the psyche of a fundamentalist society.

Kite Runner succeeds in exploring the impact and fallout of personal guilt. Otherwise, there are no pretensions of creating a piece of literature. Maybe, the book has been more than successful in achieving what it set out to achieve – it had just fallen into the hands of a wrong reader to elicit such scathing criticism.


10 Responses to The Kite Runner – review

  1. “The Kite Runner” an awesome book, great attention to details. Every single page made me cry, laugh, warmed up my heart with love, and made me angry… I cried non-stop throughout the book.

  2. kannan says:

    If an author can get even a single reader to say what you have said, it is an achievement in itself. And you are not alone in your assessment. But then, my parameters to judge a book seem to be different and from a personal viewpoint, I stand by my review.

  3. Thinker says:

    The movie was good apart from a few contradictions and as the movie portrays itself as a true story and requests donations, it should contain a foot note about things which can be mis-interpreted. True stories and depictions requesting donations should infact issue footnotes specially when they deal with some emotional matters like wars etc which have affected a lot of lives
    and are an emotional topic.

    Following should be noted though:

    1. Kids are kids, either they fight with sling shots or weapons.

    2. The kid who abuses Hassan and Amir and calls them different because of certain specific facial feature, fails to notice that his own friends have the same very features.
    Infact Amir has the same features as his own and his friends have the same features as Hassan.

    3. The movie mentions the soviets as having cut all the trees, but infact if
    soviets would have been the ones to cut the trees, then Russia would have
    been a barren land by now, which infact it is not. This can be interpreted as
    a desire to play on the emotions of the american and afghan public who had been affected by the Afghan conflict.

    4. Another thing to note is that the kids fight with each other because of
    elder kids and Hassan and Amir being from different tribes. But finally
    one of the elder kids is shown to have joined Hassan’s tribe that is the talibans, who as Amir’s father calls as the religious zealots who actually
    do not even understand the language the holy koran is written in. This
    is typical of asian societies where the religion gets taught from father
    to son without explaining any meaning about it and things are supposed
    to be followed by tradition, rather than reasoning.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Was this your personal review? If so, I find it stupid.
    The book was great, but your view on the deception of the taliban is wrong. They aren’t “Paedophiles” or consisting to be of such, they’re only soldiers that fight for their country and that’s what is being shown in the movie, you see them as people running around in trousers so that automatically makes them a pedo or a cruel socio path. You’re looking at this book/movie at the wrong perspective. Re-read it or watch it again because you’re clearly to ignorant to understand the kind of message “The kite runner” is trying to prove.

    • Kannan says:

      Anonymous : Thank you for your kind comment. Of course, it is my personal review and so, I am the one who should get the honour bestowed in your comment.

      A few clarifications :
      1. I wasn’t talking about ‘deception’ of Taliban. I was commenting on the ‘depiction’ of Taliban in the book, by ‘Super-imposing the school-bully-sociopath character of Aseef on Taliban’. (My apologies for picking on it, if it is only a typo on your part). This was my interpretation of the book, at that point of time. Anybody who reads books will appreciate that different interpretations are possible. We don’t have to be ignorant or stupid to come up with a different interpretation.
      2. This was a review of the book, not the movie. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t know if the same depiction is done in the movie. Movies are not usually the exact replicas of books. Some of the nuances of the book can get diluted or altered in a movie.
      3. Thanks for your advice to re-read the book. I have uncountable other works (that interest me) to read and re-read.

      • Anonymous says:

        I apologize for coming on a little bit rough, by your reply I understand you’re only giving reviews and nothing else, As I’m from the same country as the people in the book/movie I was a bit contradictive about the way you reacted

    • Kannan says:

      Thanks, I appreciate your feelings. I think our objections are similar but are viewing the book differently.

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