Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Look Out - I'm On a Roll!

I just finished Kite Runner in record time - less than 24 hours, actually. It was a compelling book and I was completely hooked. Either I'm getting better at reading or am turning soft, because this book made me cry. Up until I read The Secret Life of Bees, I'd never cried while reading. Perhaps, like Helen Keller with "water," Bees opened up my proverbial floodgates. Anyway, if you haven't read Kite Runner, I can recommend it highly and without hesitation. Come to think of it, I can highly recommend Bees, too.

I'm headed next for Heart of Darkness. I read it once in college. Well, that's not exactly accurate - I read it about four times for the same class in college. Heart of Darkness was the one-and-only text used in a literary criticism class I took as an undergrad. Anyway, while I was reading The Poisonwood Bible, Kizz suggested that there was a link between that novel and Conrad's work, so I thought I'd revisit HoD to see how my thinking may have changed about it after having had the Poisonwood experience. HoD is a short work - less than a hundred pages - but it's PACKED with good stuff. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

I leave you, in this post, with this compelling line. Think about it:

"And this also," said Marlow suddenly, "has been one of the dark places of the earth."


Blogger Kizz said...

More on what you loved about Kite Runner, please. I read it. I liked it but it didn't do much for me.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

Oh, there were so many reasons I loved it.

SPOILER ALERT - if you haven't read the story and want it to be fresh when you do - stop readin gright here....

Okay, first, I loved it because of the complex relationship that the boy had with his father and how, when their environment was changed - when they fled to America - their relationship changed, too (though for each there were different reasons for that). Baba's character was complex and difficult, and I found myself feeling sympathy for him as I started to understand more about him (something that, for me, is sometimes difficult - I tend to be prejudice against what I see as bad parenting). I couldn't imagine how difficult it must have been for him to not be able to acknowledge Hassan as his son, and how difficult it must have been for him to keep that knowledge from both of his children.

The story was wonderfully tight and complex. The way it moves from idyllic childhood into a stark and startling thrust into not-so-idyllic childhood, the complexity of ALL of the charaters (not just the main one or two), the eerie way that history repeats itself in the story and, dear God, how blindsided I was EVERY TIME something went wrong with the boy, all kept me rivited. I'm also in love with the idea that the story didn't end all rosey and happy - there was a glimmer of rosey and happy to come, but we weren't there yet. Masterful storytelling.

I'm also really pleased by the setting of the story. All I've ever known about Afghanistan is what I've been fed through American media. This novel gave me a view of what Afghans think of Afghanistan - of how devastated they were when their beloved country began to fall apart - and into the hands of foreign invaders. I left the book with a deep and profound sympathy for the people, and I think that has made me a better person.

10:04 AM  

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