The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a real page-turner, and one with a feeling of foreboding. Revolving around the shambles of events in Afghanistan since the 1970s, there is plenty of scope for disaster and tragedy. I always felt something was about to go wrong – and usually it did.
It seems that every possible tragedy, outrage and plot twist has been worked into The Kite Runner. The coincidences and so on become distracting in the final third of the book, but not enough to make me stop reading.
What I most appreciate is how the novel opens a window into a place unknown to me: Afghanistan’s long-term rivalries and her recent-history chaos. And something of her beauty, too.
As to the story, it’s really a tale of redemption. It’s not Christian redemption – most definitely not – because it’s self-redemption. As such, it resonates in any culture, for we all want to ‘fix’ the bad things we’ve done.
Here’s how one character describes another, “Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.”
But this fails – for doing something good never undoes the evil that lingers. Self-redemption is a foolish dream, and should never be added on to the awareness of sin. Awareness of sin is only useful if it leads us to the one without sin, the living one who offers free forgiveness.