Monday, April 5, 2010
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Three words come to mind when I think about this book: Ignorance is Bliss. I think I would have been better off not reading this book. It isn't because it was poorly written-on the contrary, it is very very well written. It is because the story line disturbed me so deeply that I wanted to shut my eyes and wish it away. This story is about Amir and Hassan, two friends that are set in different places in Afghanistan's caste system. Hassan is a decent, loyal and brave friend to Amir. Amir, on the other hand, is a coward, and when Hassan needs him the most he does nothing. And then Amir feels guilty, and that guilt destroys their friendship. So then he spends the last half of the book trying to make up for what he did to his former friend. I was disgusted at Amir, and felt even sadder that he ruined his chances of reconciliation, because he just waited too long.
Ugh. I can't take it. It was far too depressing. This book has the same place in my mind as when I read about dogs being abused. It is disturbing and makes me feel just terrible. A great novel, yes, but it will never sit right with me. I need to read some fluff now to take my mind off of it.
About the author:
Khaled Hosseini is a novelist and physician who was born in Afghanistan. Since he was 15, he has lived in the United States, where he is a citizen. In 1976, Hosseini's father obtained a job in Paris, France and moved the family there. They chose not to return to Afghanistan because the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California.
Hosseini earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1988 from Santa Clara University. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner.
Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children.
The Great Saur revolution, in a nutshell:
In 1973, the King Zahir Shah's brother-in-law, Mohammed Daoud Khan, launched a bloodless coup and became the first President of Afghanistan while Zahir Shah was on an official overseas visit. Mohammed Daoud Khan jammed Afghan radio with anti-Pakistani broadcasts and looked to the Soviet Union and the United States for aid for development.
In 1978, a prominent member of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), Mir Akbar Khyber (or "Kaibar"), was killed by the government. The leaders of PDPA apparently feared that Daoud was planning to exterminate them all, especially since most of them were arrested by the government shortly after. Hafizullah Amin and a number of military wing officers of the PDPA managed to remain at large and organized an uprising.
The PDPA, led by Nur Mohammad Taraki, Babrak Karmal and Amin overthrew the regime of Mohammad Daoud, who was killed along with his family. The uprising was known as the Khalq, or Great Saur Revolution ('Saur' means 'April' in Pashto). On May 1, 1978, Taraki became President, Prime Minister and General Secretary of the PDPA. The country was then renamed the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA), and the PDPA regime lasted, in some form or another, until April 1992.