Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The Kite Runner"

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini, © 2003, ISBN: 978-1-59448-000-3, trade paperback, 371 pages. My favorite author is Ken Follett who also wrote my favorite book, "The Pillars of the Earth." However, his first novel, like the early works of many other authors, doesn't have the depth he developed later.

That's why "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini is remarkable. Not only is it a powerfully moving story of a boy in Afghanistan who later emigrates to the United States, marries, and finds himself confronting the prospect of returning to Afghanistan, it's rich with culture, settings, characters, and relationships, accomplishing it all in a first novel without the awkwardness of stilted flow or obvious attempts at technique that I've found in other first books.

It intrigues me that Hosseini, a medical doctor who spent his youth overseas, has a first novel that is significantly better than the first novels of native English-speaking novelists such as Ken Follett and Lee Child who started their careers as journalists. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that journalists can't write good first books; it's that Hosseini did such an excellent job, it's no wonder that "The Kite Runner" is an international best-seller.

Thanks to KitePilotCA for recommending this slice-of-life novel to me. It is an easy, yet compelling, read that was hard to put down.

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