This book hooked me from the very first page and I couldn’t put it down. When I wasn’t reading, I’d think about it all day. And when I was reading, I’d be drawn into the story, oblivious to what was going on around me. I felt guilty that I was neglecting my family!
If it wasn’t for one small thing, I’d have given it a perfect 10 out of 10.
Before this book, I knew very little about Afghanistan and its people. I had a picture in my head of dry, war-torn landscapes, and never thought much more about it than that. The Kite Runner tells the story of a little boy growing up in Kabul and how his childhood impacts his life as an adult. The descriptions of the towns and cities are magic and the characters are deep and unique. In just 6 days, it replaced the very limited picture of Afghanistan in my mind with a colourful story, and a much deeper understanding of the country’s history and people.
One plot twist jaded my opinion. It was something pretty simple too. I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t read it, but there was a moment where a character from the beginning of the book returns. The main character meets him by pure coincidence but, and this is the key part, the coincidence is not highlighted as being one.
You see, I understand that coincidences happen. They’ve happened to me and everyone I know. They are a part of everyday life. But when they happen in a book, and are not treated as anything remarkable, they suddenly become no more than a too-convenient plot point.
An unbelievable part of the story.
Which, unfortunately, pulled me out of the story and reminded me that I was reading no more than a work of fiction. It made me question the facts throughout the whole book. Were the dusty fields originally green irrigated landscapes as Hosseini described, or was that just his poetic licence at play? Did the military coup actually happen, or was that just a convenient plot point too?
If I wasn’t so drawn into the story this coincidence wouldn’t have bothered me. The return of the childhood character was an excellent plot twist and allowed a whole lot of loose ends to be tied up by the end of the book (and I’m a big fan of this). But the quality of writing was so high I expected something better. Something that seemed so real it would feel like the book was a true story masquerading as fiction.
In summary, the first two-thirds of the book was so brilliant that I felt greatly let down by this one small unbelievable twist.
Have you read The Kite Runner? Did you feel the same way I did about the return of the childhood character?