The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

I was reminded of my childhood in Pakistan in the early fifties at every turn in this extraordinarily engaging novel. Amir, the narrator, begins this seeming autobiography–it is that convincing–as the son of an upper-class Afghan man who brings him up, having lost his wife at Amir’s birth. The reader is not spared the horrifying effects of Afghan politics, but the real story lies not so much in these events but how different people deal with them. This is a novel about truth and lies within families, secrets that can destroy lives, loyalty and the long-term price of even small disloyalties, and how important it is to recognize how much we may not know about even those closest to us.

I found the prose, characters, and story so engaging that I stayed up two nights reading this book. The plot was believable until the end, when it started reading like a James Bond novel and there were too many convenient coincidences. I wondered if the last bit of self-inflicted violence was absolutely necessary. It seemed to try to prove a point that had already ably been proved.

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