Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Kite Runner

It may be a bit strange to be talking about a book that came out 6 years ago, but since some commenters recommended The Kite Runner on one of my blog posts, I decided to check out the book. I guess the commenters mentioned the Kite Runner b/c the blog post was about the friendship between a British-Indian reporter and his Pashtun guide, which was an episode of the TV show Locked Up Abroad. The Kite Runner also involved friendship, but this time between a Pashtun and a Hazara, two ethnic groups in Afghanistan. Compared to The Kite Runner, those guys in the Locked Up Abroad episode had it easy. They just spent about a month in a Pakistani jail. hehe. Nobody died in that story, at least. The Kite Runner is a bit different. Characters die (or nearly die) left and right. Definitely lots of sad moments.

The story takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan and California. I knew a little bit about Afghanistan from the news and from Ahmad Rashid's book Taliban, but its different when a novel is set in Afghanistan and characters created. They just seem more alive in the hands of a good novelist. The frequent mention of Afghan food also made me want to look for Afghan restaurants here in the Bay Area. hehe.

As for the film version of the book, I haven't seen it yet. I might be disappointed though. I checked the movie's official website and I'm already thinking to myself that some of the castmembers don't look like how I envisioned the characters. For instance, I thought the Hazara characters would look more Chinese, for example and that Baba would be fatter ... err... I mean bigger. hehe.

My only quibble with the book is that it had one too many twists and turns. ***Warning: Spoilers ahead. Oddly enough, the book mentions that Afghans don't mind spoilers. In fact, they want to know the ending of a film or book, whether the guy or girl in the film finds happiness in the end. hehe. But as I was saying, I think the story could've ended with Amir and Sohrab leaving Afghanistan. Sohrab attempting suicide was too much. I didn't think it was necessary b/c I think the story is about Amir and his chance to be a good person again and he already did that by risking his life to rescue Sohrab. End of Spoiler***

Other than that, I liked the book. Specifically, I liked the theme of redemption. Baba and Amir trying to redeem themselves through their actions -- Baba through his generosity and Amir by trying to rescue Sohrab . It's better than simply writing a happy ending in a novel like that character Briony in Atonement did. What is it about characters who are writers having a dark past? hehe.

Anyway, here's some quotes from the book that I liked:

1) For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his.

2) But the Bay Area's smog stung his eyes, the traffic noise gave him headaches, and the pollen made him cough.

3) It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime, Amir.

4) We may be hardheaded and I know we're far too proud, but, in the hour of need, believe me that there's no one you'd rather have at your side than a Pashtun.

5) How could I, of all people, chastise someone for their past?

6) Sad stories make good books.

7) "Why didn't you leave?" I said. "Kabul was my home. It still is" [, replied Rahim Khan].

8) ... a boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything.

9) And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.

10) ... better to get hurt by the truth than be comforted by a lie.

Technorati tags: The Kite Runner


Lionheart : Richard the Adventurer said...

I think movie iyan or novel?

well, narinig ko na iyan pero hindi ako mahilig sa mga senti e

Lets adventure!

Anonymous said...

his next book also has tons of plot twists, and some improbable coincidences. it reminded me of kite runner in that sense, although it's a totally different story, but still equally as enjoyable.

Wil said...

Richard, its actually not that sentimental. Naturally, there's sad moments, but those scenes are done well, not over-the-top or sentimental.

sis, I was waiting for the three-note dramatic soap opera music whenever a few of those plot twists occurred. hehe.

haze said...

I like this kind of movie! I must say, poor me as this will never be shown in France! Will check it from DVD rentals sana meron!

bw said...

My wife bought the book first and read it then we bought and watched the movie. I didn't read the book but I liked the movie. Although it is filled with twists and turns, they were quite believable :)

Wil said...

haze, try the book first. :)

bw, a few of the twists were a bit of a stretch, but I have to remind myself that its just a novel and fiction is afforded some suspension of disbelief. ;)

TruBlue said...

It was a good flick but didn't even garner any oscar nomination. Even the Godfather movies were like that, the book is so different or better than the film.

witsandnuts said...

I skipped the spoilers. Would you believe I haven't bought/read the book yet although I intend to a long time ago? =) I'm so tempted to see the film, too. Now I'm confused what to do first, watch or read. Lol.

Wil said...

TB, that's surprising to hear that the film wasn't nominated for any academy awards. The foreign language film winner for that year was some Austrian film I've never heard of and the best picture winner was No Country for Old Men, which I wasn't a big fan of. Go figure.

witsandnuts, check niceheart's post here. She read the book and saw the film. :)

caryn said...

i saw the film and it was alright. my hubby said it differed greatly from the book though. loved the cinematography though ;-)

Wil said...

caryn, I also just saw the film. The book was better as usual. Some of my favorite lines were cut and they seemed to have toned down some of the drama. That's too bad b/c the drama is what made the book good. :D

D@phn3 L@ur@ said...

I naturally preferred the novel than the movie. But I also understand there are limitations in portraying such a vast storyline into a 2 hour film. One thing for sure I couldn't stand Amir both in the novel and the film hehehe ;)

Wil said...

LOL, Daphne. True, Amir isn't exactly the most likable character. hehe

I guess that'll always be the problem when translating a novel into film -- not enough time to fit everything in. I felt the film went too fast.

Anonymous said...

I've read that people who've read the book first were disappointed with the movie. But I liked the movie, probably bec. I saw it first before I read the book. Well, it's a good movie, maybe you should give it a try. :)

I've also read Hosseini's 2nd book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think it's even better than The Kite Runner.

Thanks for recommending my post. :)

Wil said...

No problem, niceheart. :D

I saw the film after reading the book and I did react like others who read the book first.

I'll try to read Hosseini's book next. Still trying to finish a Paulo Coehlo book. hehe