Book & Movie Review : The Kite Runner

Book Review

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This book was released in 2003, published in 48 countries and immediately became an international bestseller. Written by Khaled Hosseini, the story tells of two young boys, Amir and Hassan growing up together in Afghanistan in the 1970s. One a son of a wealthy man, the other the son of the house servant.

The story, narrated by Amir tells of him growing up through the good and tough war times in Afghan. After much memory-filled drama, he’s now a published author living in San Francisco. He revisits his past and remembers his roots, his childhood dreams and friendship.

Summary on author’s site:-

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.

The Kite Runner is a novel about friendship, betrayal, and the price of loyalty. It is about the bonds between fathers and sons, and the power of their lies. Written against a history that has not been told in fiction before, The Kite Runner describes the rich culture and beauty of a land in the process of being destroyed. But with the devastation, Khaled Hosseini also gives us hope: through the novel’s faith in the power of reading and storytelling, and in the possibilities he shows for redemption.

I read this as an e-book on my e-reader. I have been thinking about reading this for the longest time, ever since my friends started praising the book. I cannot agree more with all the praises and compliments this boo has received.

It is indeed a page turner. The story goes on and every scene and act seems to captivate me to go on. Although there were chapters and page breaks, I find myself continuously turning the pages to read on. Every incident or narration seem to prepare me to get excited about what’s to happen next. I find myself absolutely glued to the story. You get so involved with the character and what he was feeling at the very incident. You want to know what he would do next, almost always hoping that you can be there yourself to help the story move on.

Amir’s friendship with Hassan (his servant’s son) is so pure and innocent. Filled with loyalty and friendship, you can’t help but practice empathy and feel for what he’s going through emotionally. There were plenty dramatic moments where you’d hope for happy endings (through various scenes in the story) that doesn’t really resolve itself and somehow manage to carry on to the next storyline.

Without revealing too much of the plot, the story unfolds with plenty of revelations, memories, painful regrets and ultimate redemption.

I wish the ending would’ve been different, considering this is a fictional story book. However, I am glad it ended the way it did (rather abruptly, I thought). To keep the story true to itself, somewhat like a memoir, there is a good ending, but not exactly a “Happily ever after” one.

I finished the book in 2 nights. It was such a page turner that I wouldn’t even mind reading it again. It’s somewhat like Q&A (the book version of Slumdog Millionaire) where the story was dramatic and tear-jerking.

I give the book a good 4.5 out of 5. 

I would’ve rated it a perfect 5, if the author had included an adult reunion between Amir and Hassan. 😦 Nevertheless, it’s a great book indeed and one you should pick up if you enjoy autobiographic like stories.

Click on the link and check out Amazon’s book descriptions, other readers’ reviews and buy “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.



Movie Review

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The Kite Runner movie was released in the cinemas in November 2007. Directed by Marc Foster, this movie was even nominated for an Oscar.

I was very excited to watch this only after reading the book. I am always of the opinion that a movie adaptation of a book is never as good. So my expectations was low.

Reading up on IMDB, I found out that movie was actually shot in Beijing, China – eventhough the background was set in Afghanistan. Interesting…

Halfway through the movie, I was already deciding the fate of the movie. The director (or screenwriter) had attempted to cramp as much of the book’s scene into the slightly over 2 hour movie. Granted, this is almost nearly impossible as there are too many details in the book to include. The emotions are not very clearly portrayed in the movie.

The actor who played Amir (Khalid Abdalla) did a splendid job. Considering he’s the lead in the movie, he did very well to capture the audience. The younger Amir, on the other hand, had an almost expressionless face. I blame some of the actor’s fault for not making the emotions show on screen. For the benefit of the doubt, it could also partly be the dialogue (read : lamguage).

Although majority of the movie was spoken in Farsi (with English subtitles), I have a suspicion that the language made some of the emotions and thoughts lost in the acting.

Several scenes in the movie made me tear (not cry). I hadn’t teared in the book, so I give credit to the movie for making these moments all the more touching and tear-inducing. You feel for the friendship between the 2 boys. The young actor who played Hassan looks so innocent and lovable, you gotta have to feel some emotions. Kudos to him.

Certain flashbacks added with my memory of the book, made me feel for the character even more. I remember more details from the book when the adult Amir reminisce about the past – eg. Hassan running for the kite when he won the tournament; when he found the tree where he carved the world, “Amir and Hassan, Sultans of Kabul” and helping his dad to bed and the latter denied his morphine pills for the night. This is one of those moments where if you read the book, you would feel for the characters more.

Nevertheless, I believe they did an awesome job adapting the book (the best they could). Many user reviews on IMDB here have given the movie loads of compliments and praises, mostly stating that they did the book justice and that the movie deserved an Oscar.

Personally, I give the movie a good 4 out of 5. 

I wouldn’t know if you would still get the story if you didn’t read the book. I assume you would, but would be a little frustrated with how you would prefer more info or how you wish certain scenes were longer. To be fair, the screenwriter did the best to cramp everything into a 2 hour movie.

In summary, if you’re a reader, do pick up the book. You will not regret it. If you’d rather sit back and watch it all in Technicolor, then watch the movie, you would still love it and possibly even shed a tear.

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