Better than The Kite Runner

Salaam Alaykum!

A lot of thoughts got implanted in my head after reading The Kite Runner. I don’t know when was the first time I heard about the book and how I heard about it. The book was written in 2003 A.D. when I was about just 10 years old. It had been a long time I wanted to read it but hadn’t found it in my college library [ I don’t buy books as long as I can find it in a library or with a friend 🙂 ]

There was a book exhibition in the exhibition ground, Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu. I had gone to spend my free time around there as I was free after completing my final year at the college. I saw the book again. The desire to read it surged again. I flipped through the book, looked the price, and began reading the author’s foreword, praises for the book and the highlights/description of the book which I usually do before reading a new book. When I came to know that the novel is about childhood and friendship, I could not stop myself to begin reading the first chapter. I read some of the pages standing in front of the stall. Then I decided to BUY THE FIRST NOVEL 🙂 

I was so attracted by the first novel [The Kite Runner] that I could not stop myself from reading the author’s second work; A Thousand Splendid Suns. Though this novel has portrayed the male characters [Baba as well as Rasheed] as evils, I loved the second novel [ A Thousand Splendid Suns] more than the The Kite Runner. But yes, one book cannot be compared with another; each has a different purpose/theme. It’d be better to say I loved the story of the second novel than that of the first one. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a melange of conspiracies, love, war and at last patriotism. It shows how war has shattered Afghanistan and how people become bound to the circumstances they don’t even want to imagine. The following lines from the novel describe how it is the melange of conspiracies, love, war and patriotism. 

#conspiracies: 

• Her (Mariam’s) gaze skimmed over all of these things before they found a face, across the garden, in an upstairs window. The face was there for only an instant, a flash, but long enough. Long enough for Mariam to see the eyes widen, the mouth open. Then it snapped away from the view. A hand appeared & frantically pulled at a cord. The curtain fell shut.
• “Yes. But I’ve seen nine-year-old girls given to men twenty years older than your suitor, Mariam. We all have. What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age.” … It didn’t escape Mariam that no mention was made of her half sisters Saideh or Naheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Herat, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them.

#war:

• “They have food here (orphanage)”, Laila (mother) said shakily. She was glad for the burqa, glad that Aziza(daughter) couldn’t see how she was falling apart inside it.

#love

• In the middle of the night when Laila woke up thirsty, she found their(Laila & her second husband, Tariq) hands still clamped together, in the white knuckle, anxious way of children clutching balloon strings.
• “Me?”, he (Tariq) says, “I will follow you to the end of the world, Laila.”

#patriotism

• A year ago, she (Laila) would have gladly given an arm to get out of Kabul. But in the last few months, she has found herself missing the city of her childhood. She misses the bustle of Shor Bazaar, the Gardens of Babur, the call of the water carriers lugging their goatskin bags.

If you read The Kite Runner and liked it, I think you will like A Thousand Splendid Suns more.

Happy reading !! 

Unanswered questions in The Kite Runner

This is neither a criticism nor an admiration. Questions got implanted on my head while reading the story, hoping they would be answered by the end of the novel but didn’t.

Firstly, Ali did not seem to be irritated being in Amir’s (Baba’s) house anywhere in the story. Secondly, the author has portrayed Hassan as a strong, self-reliant guy who does not easily get disappointed. Why Hassan so easily confessed the stealing of the watch and money even though he was not the convict. Was it because only Hassan got tired of Amir’s behavior towards him that led both of them to leave the house? Or had Ali also wanted to leave the house? Baba was always loyal to Ali, more loyal to Hassan. He had behaved to Hassan in a way not less than his own son. He had threatened his own son Amir when he had asked Baba if he had ever thought of getting new servants in the house. But, had Ali also really wanted to leave the house? Shouldn’t Ali have scolded his son and told the truth to his “brother like ‘Baba’” instead? I didn’t see any reason for Ali to leave the house. Maybe that was the plight of being a Hazara, not being able to speak to the Pashtun master then.

Later in Peshawar, Rahim Khan revealed that Ali was sterile. Perhaps Ali should also have known that, as his first wife gave three daughters to another man with whom she eloped. Did he become happy or sad when Hassan was born? Or, how did he feel? Why didn’t the author describe the feelings of Ali at Hassan’s birth?

Was it only Rahim Khan’s inference that Hassan was Amir’s half-brother or he really was? If the soldier at the military barrack near Istiqlal Middle School was true at what he had said, how can we be sure that Hassan was Amir’s half-brother? Could not he be the soldier’s son instead? Amir had also heard the soldier’s words. Maybe Baba was on the illusion that Hassan was his son as he was oblivious to the fact that Sanaubar, Ali’s second wife, had physical contact with the soldier. So might be the case with Rahim Khan. Didn’t Amir ever think about it?  He blindly believed what Rahim Khan told.

The ending is really impressive. “It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything alright. It didn’t make anything alright. A tiny thing…” But that tiny thing in Shorab’s face made the author run with a swarm of screaming children with ineffable happiness.

Published in Annanote: Online English Edition of Annapurna Post Daily

http://www.annanote.com/news/2660/Unanswered-Questions-in-‘The-Kite-Runner’ (Friday, Dec 23, 2016)