I recently listened to the unabridged audio version of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. I wasn't sure I would like it, which is one of the reasons I got it in audio from my local library. Something this popular can't be very good, I figured. I was prepared to dismiss it.
And I will admit that I found plenty of passages and tropes that made the MFA student in me wince a little. Although it is quite well written overall, this is not a book that would survive the fiction workshop unscathed. (Is there any such book?) And yet, I have to admit that I was deeply moved by the story. It remains with me days after having listened to it.
"There is a way to be good again." I keep pondering this line.
All of this has to say something about a work's literary value. I'm not saying anything new here. For decades now critics have been seeking to rescue books like Uncle Tom's Cabin and Charlotte Temple from being dismissed as mere popular or sentimental writings.
Minutes ago I finished watching the movie version of The Kite Runner, which I thought was a worthy interpretation of the book, although--as usual--the film fell well short of the depth and texture of the novel.
Taking the two together I feel that I have a better appreciation of Afghani history and the plight of this country's people. It's an example of how a focused narrative can foster interest and emotional investment in ways that newscasts and histories rarely can. This is one of the reasons the novel will never die.
Readers, what do you think?
I look forward to seeing some of you in Florida soon!
"For you, a thousand times over!"