Monday, November 13

Book: The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini Click for more info

When so many people recommend a book you can't help but think it's going to be good. Unfortunately in this case I was wrong. The Kite Runner really is nothing special.

Adequately written at best, this book was never going to rely on its technical brilliance to sell copies. No, the tactic used here would be to blatantly pluck on as many emotional strings as it could - and judging by the number of people who thought this was good purely 'cos it made them cry proves how good it is at doing just that.

In that sense, it's very much like the Bollywood film Baghban. That too unabashedly used strong emotional themes to provoke a response from its audience. That didn't make it a good film though, and the same is true here for this book.

There's just a big anticlimatic feel to it - Hosseini seems to continually skim over the important bits in order to dwell on the more boring parts. I got the impression that the author had quite a big chip on his shoulder when writing this; most have I suppose and it sometimes helps in writing. But this novel was almost self-involved.

It also relies way too much on the more abstract cliches (even though the book itself warns of this). In fact, I got so used to the continual bad luck of the characters within that I became insensitive to the next. It really was as predictable and irrelevant as a Saturday morning weepy TV movie. I could almost hear the theme music in the background.

Characterisation was also below par. There was no depth to the characters here, even though it was obvious how desperate the author wanted to provide it. The trick missed by Hosseini is that it's the reaction to normal, everyday events that brings a character to life, not just the extreme ones that only happen in the world of fiction. I rolled my eyes more than once at some of the experiences in these pages.

In the end, The Kite Runner is not much more than a page turner. This in itself is only bad since it tries to be much more, so much so that I couldn't help but feel a bit conned after completing it. Unfortunate.