Saturday, July 26, 2008

the kite runner

my first vacation-celebration purchase was a copy of Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner". i've wanted to read it for a good long time, and yet, i was a little afraid of it, knowing that it would likely break my heart in two. M. convinced me it was a story worthy of a little heartache, and besides, every book she's ever recommended to me ends up on my 'favorite' shelf so it was likely that i would enjoy it. and here i am again, the nerdy little bookworm, wanting to do nothing but find a comfortable place to sit and read, utterly in love with a book that pulled me deep inside its world the very minute i read the first paragraph:

"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it's wrong what they say about the past, I've learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years."

this is most beautifully written book i have read in years, right up there with 'fall on your knees'. it is wrapped in horrific and almost unspeakable violence, and yet told with love and extraordinary tenderness. it is really, i think, a love story about afghanistan, a love story of two little boys and their haunting friendship, a love story of fathers and sons. and while i can't be certain because i've not turned the last page yet, i suspect it will also be about redemption. at least i hope so because at this point, i'm not sure i could bear any other ending.

this book is...difficult to read sometimes. it will light fire to every emotion imagineable inside of you. it is so unbelievably heartwrenching at times that i have to simply put the book aside to catch my breath. i have cried more than once and have been amazed at the way Hosseini is able to reach deep inside his readers and pull so hard at the heart. his prose is simple--no flourishing words or sweeping metaphors or grandiose, complicated imagery. and yet...the sentences have a rhythm, a voice, that reads like poetry. like music. sad, haunting, lovely music.

i was tucked in bed late last night...burning incense...and completely lost in this story. two times i finished a chapter, put the book on the nightstand, and thought, 'okay, time to sleep.' turned out the light, and lay in the darkness, my mind unable to shut off these complicated, beautiful characters. and then turned the light back on, and read more. finally, at 2 am, my eyes got the best of me and i had to tuck away hassan and amir and baba and ali for the night.

i'll be heading to Fort Williams in hand, of this you can be sure.


kristin said...

i read this last year and honest to god, it still sits within me. and i have a hard time reading anything else because i am always comparing it with The Kite Runner. it's just an astonishing book.

Dawn on MDI said...

Oh dear. I read it last year or maybe earlier - when it first came out anyway. And really didn't like it. The story-telling was ok, but I did not enjoy the ride. When I closed the book at the end, my thoughts were not "what a wonderful thing." they were "he should get therapy to get over this stuff."

I'll probably get black-listed from the artsy-fartsy club for saying so, but that was my take. If you like it, if you enjoy it, then more power to you. You are in good company. It was not one I enjoyed.

Jenna said...

I consider it "modern literature". On my favorite shelf, for sure. When your ready for "A Thousand Splendid Suns", let me know, I will be happy to lend you my copy.

toklas23 said...


i just started "the lovely bones" yesterday (apparently i am hungry for disturbing stories?!) and am liking it, so much.

a thousand splendid suns? next on my list now. thanks for the recommendation.


Jenna said...

I have 'The Lovely Bones' around here somewhere...

You need more for vacation, I love "Water for Elephants" and "Glass Castle", both great books.

Do we need a Portland "family" book club?

toklas23 said...

what a great idea...a book club!

i had both of the books you mentioned in my hands yesterday, and opted for the lovely bones instead. and yeah, i could definitely use about 2 extra weeks of vacation time. my problem is that once i start a book, i am obsessive about it. i usually fly threw a 500 page book in three days, no lie. and when i'm working, there just isn't time to do that.

let's start a book club. that would be so fun.