i did not like "the kite runner." i like that theme for a novel, but due to the sophomoric writing (think work and the glory, namesake) and the heavy-handed sensationalism, i can't encourage anyone to jump on the proverbial bus and be taken for a ride. (and hassan? the afghan haley mills; he's so unbelievably good, i am led to ask ridiculous questions- like: is the author christian?)
many found the book to be disturbing. i found it to be gross; not because i felt bad for the characters and the pain they suffered - because to me, the characters never seemed real. but instead, i was surprised by how far (and gross) this author would go to compensate for his poor writing. this is a problem with some modern writers. it's all been said and done, we are rarely shocked anymore by anything - so modern fiction's gotta push it to the edge and be down-right vile and disgusting to get our attention. so the kite runner goes for the easy punch and of course, moves some to tears-
while people like me roll our eyes and look back to writers from yesteryear, writers not so inclined to set up the dominos in such an obvious and overstated fashion. and i won't even comment on the "cultural awareness" the book offers our geographically illiterate america (how many of us can say "that is a poorly written book" in 2 languages?) but i think i would get more culture from a postcard.
but i am not one to identify a problem without offering solutions. so here are three suggested titles - similarly themed, but well-written and not "over the top" and "into the frying pan."
a separate peace by john knowles; short, easy read. you'll see the similarities immediately, but this book portrays real characters and creates real tension. i read this book years ago - but it has stayed with me. it has a sequel of sorts, but i never read it. i think i tried once, but some books don't need a sequel. (can you imagine a sequel to "a prayer for owen meany?")
atonement, by ian mcewan, winner of the booker prize; interesting thing about this author - he was a victim of our war on terror. he was supposed to speak in seattle and was detained at the border- missed his appointment completely. this led him to quip, "homeland security is making america safe from british novelists." anyway - one of my favorite books of all time.
see the story in:
anne tyler's "saint maybe." my favorite author. this woman can write a story. (and she has never resulted to sensationalism either. her stories could really happen.) but check this book out. it is one of her most moving - and the characters are instantly likeable. i have read all of her novels except her latest and "searching for caleb." i don't know why i've never read that book. it sits on my shelf, waiting... and waiting... and waiting...
feel free to comment. i can take it.