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Book Review : The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

I must be the last person in the world to read this book - but it is wonderful and I'm glad I did. What strikes me with it is not so much the way in which Afghanistan is realised, nor the beauty of the writing nor even the shocking brutality of the Taliban, but, really, the skill with which the simple fundamentals of writing good fiction are employed. Narrative tension is very well set-up and maintained. Secrets and lies are left buried and then years pass by so that we long to find out what has happened to the characters involved. These are simple, basic tricks, of course - but the real skill comes in making it all seem natural. In the reader not noticing s/he is being tricked.

This is not perfectly done - there are too many annoying little cliff-hangers and coincidences that sometimes spoil the illusion - but it is done sufficiently well for the novel to remain utterly compelling (as blurb writers say.) For me, the theist message towards the end of the book grated and spoiled the effect too. But still, highly recommended. I must read his next book soon.


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