Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

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I had successfully managed to avoid Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner for a very long time. The book had been silently sitting in my personal library, waiting to be picked up. But Forsyth, Ludlum, Wallace, Archer, Narayan and the lot kept dominating my world. They still continue to do so, and I’m happier that way.

One of the main reasons that kept me away from The Kite Runner is the fact that it is a morose story. Now I’ve always had a problem with such stories. Sometimes in competitions only those stories win that pull the strings of your heart. Whether it’s on the international scene or otherwise, between a tremendously researched thriller and a heart-wrenching story, it’s the latter that always wins. I’ve always hated that trend. It’s the same when it comes to movies. A recently released Kannada movie is a huge hit. It’s a tragic story and it’s pathetic. My friend and I tore our own clothes, and by the time we came out of the theatre, we were looking like beggars. Anyway, let’s not get there.

I’m not complaining about The Kite Runner though. I liked it immensely, all right; but more because of the way of writing rather than the story itself. Surely there are moments that really squeeze your heart, moments that make you stop reading and introspect upon your own life, moments that teach you to take a severe beating instead of running away and feel guilty later on, which by the way is one of the biggest lessons that one should learn. Sooner the better.

All these things are explained, or to be specific, shown so beautifully that it makes the reader relate to the characters, easily. This is the part, which really fascinated me to the core. A perfect example for, “Show, don’t tell” – the golden rule of storytelling. The story drags a bit here and there, and sometimes it gets boring too. But what a superb way of storytelling! The characterization, the voice, the language, the narration – everything is top notch. Every sentence is fantastic. Every paragraph paints a heavenly picture of a hellish world. If I’m to read the book again or pick up his next novel, it will be because of these very reasons. The entire book is like a lesson in creative writing.

Khaled Hosseini is certainly one of the most powerful storytellers that there is now. Wonder why the so-called bestselling authors of India (read Rs. 95/- authors of India) can’t learn from Hosseini! Just like Hosseini, they too use first-person narrative. But all you will read about is the self-obsessed narrator/protagonist yelling at the top of his voice, “Me! Me! Me!” That’s the only thing that constantly rings in your ear. “Me! Me! Me!” It’s too forced, too loud, and too obvious. Can’t they learn from their 3 glorious mistakes? Or is it 4 already?

Robert Ludlum once said, “To me storytelling is first a craft. Then if you are lucky, it becomes an art form. But first it’s got to be a craft. You’ve got to have a beginning, middle and end.”

So if writing is indeed an art, then Khaled Hosseini is a terrific artist. May he write more and enthrall the world!


Comments (8)

I agree completely!
I fail to understand why all contemporary Indian authors are stuck on college stories and young protagonist out to follow his dreams! There are so many innocent stories of rural India that can be made in to great novels just like Kiterunner! You should write a book! :)

Well, even so the new lit circuit in India is heavily loaded with the chick lit and the likes of Chetan Bhagat type college stories... I think the Indian English literature is coming of age. I recently read the Immortals of Meluha and Palace of Illusions and they are both quite intriguing. Although I do think the beauty in writing that you talk of, is still lacking. :)

Even so, I think we're getting there. There is hope.

i read this in your fb notes! I have been confused about this book too, whether to read it or not! let's see how many more years i take to decide!

"Rs. 95/- authors..." LOL!! :D can't agree more on that point there....

I really admired the way "The Kite Runner" was written... But I still liked his "Thousand splendid suns" better... I felt the plot had more layers there... That's just me... :)

Kite Runners is still gathering dust on my book shelf. Seems like most of us bloggers have the same opinion on Mr. Ninety someone best seller.I recently read a book by another of the same ilk - a book called 'If God was an I Banker'. These books are aesthetically unappealing but pander to crowds well. Crowds are always going to prefer risuqe item numbers over carnatic music and Bhartanatyam. So if you want to make money, you know what you must be writing.

Rightly said.
And me writing a book is long shot. Hope I do it someday. Thanks. :)

There are certainly wonderful authors. I read Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Chromosome. I didn't enjoy the story, but the language was just fantastic. Then again, these are the types of stories only literature pundits read, and I'm certainly not one of them. I expect blockbuster novels, but with a lot of grace and quality. That's what is missing.

It's a good book, no doubt. But nothing new and too many tragic events. Certainly not for entertainment. So take your time to decide.

I agree. I might read his next novel, as I said. But only to enjoy the language, not for the story. ;)

The Fool,
Oh, if god was a banker! I've read it. Man, it's pathetic. It's about these IIM graduates, right?
They are definitely going for risque item numbers. You couldn't have put it in a better way. But read Kite Runner. It's definitely good.

Finally :)
As you told me the other day, it is depressing but again as you have pointed out, the language is beautiful and poignant. Have you already read the 1000 splendid suns?

And about 95 something authors..lol...you hate them with all your heart, isn't it? But yes, most such books start sounding like whiny, ultra-modern, snobbish people, after a point..

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