Reading The Kite Runner

It’s been a while since I devoured a novel. It’s like craving for sweets in the middle of the night, you just have to have it. Since I finished the GOT series, I tried to fill my craving for literature with non-fiction. I tried reading other fiction novels but never had the same fervor I had, not until The Kite Runner.
I’ve always wanted to read it out of curiosity. It’s been mentioned by several friends, have been part of some book-related conversations, but didn’t poke my interest that much because drama themes weren’t my cup of “novel” tea. I guess I have to thank George Martin, ironically, for pushing me to finally read The Kite Runner. Because his hardbound The World of Ice and Fire is just too expensive for me, I vented my frustration elsewhere. It was The Kite Runner that filled that need to pick up a great book again.
As I sat down on a subway seat, I immediately took out the book and peeled off its seal. Soon, I found myself breathing in that familiar freshness of book paper as I leafed through the pages, and felt the excitement of reading fiction surge through me again. I relived what it’s like to lose track of time, as nothing else mattered but the novel between my hands.
There are three things that tell me when a book will become one of my personal favorites: (1) it makes me read until I can no longer fight sleepiness, (2) I can hardly wait for the next chance to read it, and (3) I feel a bit sad at the thought of finishing it. I felt these again with The Kite Runner, plus so many other feels.The novel is about love and its unrequitedness, the depth of forgiveness, and raw courage. All these highlighted through a backdrop of war, religion, and history, painted a complex picture of humanity.
I liked novels mostly for their ability to stir my imagination into creating scenes and a face for each character based from my own perception of life.I loved how the book gave me a lens on Islam, giving clarity on some of the issues that hound it and its presence among its devout. In some way, it also made me think about my own spiritual relationship with God, of the dogmas and beliefs we practice as Catholics.
Despite all the positive feels, there is something about reading novels that also scare me. It’s that everytime I read one, some words dig out memories—those which I have painstakingly laid to rest. It’s like some of a novel’s passages have been lifted off my own experiences. So aside from the fact that The Kite Runner glazed my eyes with Hassan’s innocence, Baba’s human greatness, Amir’s tortured soul, and Sohrab’s inner strength, I also saw how bits of their lives reflected pieces of mine. I guess that’s what makes reading novels a bittersweet experience. You see yourself reflected in a wistful regret, an ecstatic moment, a sad turn of events, the power of one’s soul.
Ultimately, what I liked about The Kite Runner is its balance of reality and fantasy. The happy endings and redemptions that characters had were the right mix of fulfilling a reader’s hope and what reality could truly bring. It was neither too happy, nor too tragic. There’s always that tinge of “what if” and nostalgia, yet, I think the main characters bowed out of the novel in a manner that ironically ends their story yet begins a lasting bond with the reader.
I am excited and at the same time scared to try one of Khaled Hosseini’s other novels. It seems his writing is not for the faint of heart. There’s so much depth, fuelled perhaps by a desire to keep Afghanistan’s spirit alive, that just emanates from his characters and their lives. I wish to read one of his novels again. For now, I am happy that I’ve given The Kite Runner a chance. It will stay with me for years to come.
To end this review, here’s an excerpt from the book which I loved so much, I dog-eared the page where it was written:
“…The half who had inherited what had been pure and noble in Baba. The half that, maybe, in the most secret recesses of his heart, Baba had thought of as his true son…That last thought had brought no sting with it….I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” (Amir jan)

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