Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini

Genre: Fiction
Rating: ****

I actually listened to the audio version of this book read by the author. I decided to buy it based on the excellent ratings it got on the site and the summary looked quite interesting. The book is very well written and tends to open your mind to certain subjects. The story is about a boy growing up in Afghanistan, born in a time when it was still peaceful. The unrest first begins when he is still a boy. I could relate to many of the practices of the Afghans, but found many of their other customs a little strange. It is interesting how people meld culture and religion, a lot of the time in such a way, that people forget which is religion and which is tradition. What left me a little unsure about the book, was its absolute anti-Taliban stand, while being pro-American. The book is thankfully not anti-Muslim but there are many characteristics of the Taliban that he describes that I find a little hard to believe. I know of some extreme practices, but I always thought of them as misguided people who truly believed that what they were doing is right rather than hypocrites that enforced Shariah law in public and completely went against it privately. After skimming his biography now, I see that he grew up in Kabul but he moved to the states just like the main characters in the novel. I wonder if all his information on the Taliban came from the US media, which would explain his perception of the Taliban. Not once does he seem to sympathise with them at all. And sometimes, I wonder that even if he did, perhaps he did not express it for fear of alienating his countrymen in the US. All in all, I think is a book worth reading, as long as the reader remembers not to take all the information at face value, and to remember to check other sources to get a better rounded picture of the story.

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