The Kite Runner
Riverhead, 2004 (2003)
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Reviewed by Barbara Lingens
ruelties abound in this debut novel, but then, considering that the location is Afghanistan in recent years, this cannot be surprising. It's the story of a boy growing up with a larger-than-life father and a servant who is better than a best friend. No matter how the boy tries he can never please his father. And his servant, a Hazara (a group that is particularly oppressed because of their religion and mixed ethnicity), not only stands up for him but subjugates himself to the boy. As the boys grow up, their surroundings change drastically. First the Russians invade, then the Taliban take over, and the atmosphere becomes more and more stifling. A kite-flying contest proves to be a turning point for the boy and his servant, and the beginning of the boy's long journey toward redemption.
The Kite Runner
, we learn both how close Afghanistan is to Pakistan and India, and how much American culture has penetrated into this area of the world. People who are starving do not appreciate the waste and excess that seems to represent America in films and on television. There is much misunderstanding on all sides. Yet for all the pessimism in these pages, the fact that one person can grow past ignorance and prejudice into a true understanding of what brotherhood is gives hope, if ever so faint, that governments and those in power might be able to do the same.
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