After hearing so much about The Kite Runner, I thought it was finally time to pick up the book and give it a read. I did it on a complete whim, hoping that it’d be a good book, and in the end I was absolutely blown away. It lead to me researching his other books, and hunting them out in any bookstore I ended up passing by. In the end, I finished all three of his most famous novels, and absolutely fell in love. I couldn’t help but write a blog post about it.
‘I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us’
– And The Mountains Echoed
The Kite Runner
My flat mate picked up this book on a complete whim, from an outlet bookstore near our house. We wanted to read something and this seemed like the most appealing book in the English language section: what an understatement. From start to finish, this book was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down, and even when I had put it down for a break, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I cannot relate to the context of the book: Afghanistan, 1963 is where the book begins. The book spans from 1963-2001 and crosses 3 countries: Afghanistan, USA and Pakistan (briefly). Yet somehow, the book made me feel like I’d visited these countries, I felt like I was truly there with the characters. Speaking of which; the character development in this book is unreal. I started the book by taking a disliking to Amir, for his cowardice and for his jealousy of Hassan, but by the end I found myself strangely attached to him. In fact, I formed an attachment to most of the characters, even characters with less of an importance, such as Farid. The book evoked so many emotions in me, I laughed, I cried and most importantly the story stayed with me for weeks after putting the book down.
‘One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.’
– A Thousand Splendid Suns
And The Mountains Echoed
I read this after The Kite Runner, and so had some very high expectations, and I was definitely not disappointed. The book is like a cycle, it spans a lifetime – the lives of Abdullah and Pari. The attachment I felt to these characters was unreal, and I felt like I spent the entire book waiting for them to meet again. The book tells the stories of fragments of different characters lives, stand-alone chapters if you like, and with each chapter comes something new. As fast as you become accustomed to the characters, they change with the coming chapter, and each becomes a part of the jigsaw puzzle. Much like The Kite Runner, this book transports you from your settings, whether that be to Afghanistan with Nabi, Paris with Pari or America with Abdullah and his daughter. It truly is a book that you can get lost in. The thing I like about this book, which is too similar to The Kite Runner and seems concurrent in all of Hosseini’s work, is that the characters are not perfect. Much like the shame of Amir in The Kite Runner at having ignored the tragedy that happened to Hassan, in this book Abdullah’s daughter, Pari, expresses her desire to leave her father and spread her wings even though he is ill: she isn’t perfect. But it is these flaws that make the characters so relatable, loveable almost. In all, I fell in love with not only the book but each and every character.
‘For you, a thousand times over’
– The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Arguably, this is my favourite one. I definitely saved the best one for last, it took me little under 48 hours to finish this book and I absolutely fell in love with it. You can really see Hosseini’s skill and expertise in his writing here, with the way in which he constructs their characters and takes their stories through time. I think I enjoyed this book more than the others, because the two main characters are female. I felt they were more relatable, but at the same time, I learnt so much about gender roles in Afghanistan through these two women, and also much about their culture. I learnt a lot more from this book than the others: there were many historical references, and cultural references too. This was definitely a tearjerker, the book is split into different parts, and at the end of each part I held in suspense, wanting to move onto the next part as soon as possible! This was definitely a page turner, and a book which I quickly grew really attached to.