Okay, I’m not proud (well, maybe a little). I’ve been hesitant to admit that I’ve read these novels because they’re bestsellers and I’m supposed to be above bestsellers. Wait, who am I trying to kid? This blog’s reading level is elementary school, so I should be reading (and enjoying, heaven forbid) writers like Erica Jong and Nora Roberts. No Martin Amis for me! Beverly Cleary is about my speed.
I put off reading The Kite Runner until the end of 2007 because of my snobbery about mainstream fiction. Right before Thanksgiving, I was bitching to one of the baristas at my favorite coffee hangout about not having any good reading material and she handed The Kite Runner to me. With a heavy sigh I sat down and began reading, and I read practically nonstop for the rest of the morning.
I loved it. The problem is, I didn’t know why I loved it. The structure is simplistic, the writing is plain and childish, the plot is predictable and it’s extremely melodramatic. In spite of this, though, when I think about some parts of the story, I still get all misty. It’ll be a book I’ll reread and cry over again several times. It’ll be placed in the hallowed section of my favorite bookcase where all my “hall-of-fame” books are. I won’t even hide it in my bedroom with my treasured Harry Potter and Wizard of Oz collections.
I just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. It didn’t appeal to me as much as The Kite Runner, but it was a worthwhile read. It was poignant and moving and melodramatic, and by the end I felt emotionally exhausted. Those poor women! This poor world!
I think Mr. Hosseini’s novels are so appealing because he’s an emotional alchemist. He’s magical. He knows how to tap into the deepest areas of our brain where we hide our “humanness” and bring all those hidden feelings bubbling to the surface. There’s something about the way he writes that is primitive and visceral and seems very genuine. He is a consummate storyteller, and I hope he continues to write similar unsophisticated yet significant novels for many years to come.
The Kite Runner ♥♥♥♥1/2
A Thousand Splendid Suns ♥♥♥