By Khaled Hosseini, 2003, 371 pages, amazon
I’ve read some good reviews about this book and then (without reading it first) gave it as a Christmas present to one of my friends (of course, with the intention to borrow it one day). Sometime later I asked her how was the book. She told me she had to stop reading it. Later I bought one for myself (she was living too far then to borrow hers) and I think I know where she stopped. And why.
The first part of the book is very hard to read. Not because it shows the life in Afganistan in the 70s – it may have not been easy, but (for the characters) it was a good life. It is hard because this life is shown from the point of view of a boy who did something wrong and is ashamed of it for the rest of his life. The reader would expect that if the boy is sincerely ashamed and sorry, he would either try to make things right or if he cannot do that, at least not to do more harm. That’s not the case though. And that’s why the first part of the book is so hard to read.
And then his long time friend tells him a powerful sentence: “There is a way to be good again.” And our boy – who grew into a man in the meantime – leaves on a journey to set things right. This part of the book is not so good. The violence it shows is no more brutal than before, the style of writing does not dramatically change, but it has an undertone of a happyend coming. No, I’m not saying that stories should not end with happyend, I just do not want to know it in advance. The second part of this book feels as if the author already had a gripping movie in mind.
Would I recommend this book? If you’re looking for a story of a person who is not a typical hero, person who also does bad things, story that will make you cry at some point, story that shows you a country we’re being tought to be afraid of but which is stil beautiful, then definitely yes. Oh, and they did make a movie. I already told you to expect happyend, but it’s still worth watching. Here is the trailer: