You might have experienced this. Whenever you hear too many praises for a book, and you read it, you don’t like it that much. The heightened expectations sort of spoil the pure, innocent experience of reading. However, there is an exception to every rule (or gross assumption).
Hosseini’s epic tale of an affluent Afghan family begins from the point of view of the young heir to the richness, Amir. The story spans over twenty-five years, skipping unimportant time periods. What is fascinating (or strange, as your perception deems) is that in spite of the quarter century mark, the story revolves around one essential incident witnessed by Amir. The novel however is far from simple. Amir is the protagonist of the novel, but his father and his friend Hassan steal as much of the limelight, and deservingly so. In my reading, Amir did not even stand up to the responsibility of being the central character, but his human flaws and his endearingly fearful nature redeem him towards the end of the book. Amir grows along with the movement of the story and by the end we’re cheering on for this helpless, caged young man who tries hard to change the doomed nature of his life.
Hosseini’s style is crisp, beautiful and succinct. Somewhere right in the middle of the novel, the story slackens and starts to slow down, but even that seems natural as you go on reading. It picks up pace in the last hundred pages, and you’ll find yourself reaching out for the book every now and then.
The beauty of most well written books – I’ve come to believe – is not in what they say, but in what they don’t. And although Hosseini’s says a lot, and says it perfectly, the beauty of his writing is in all that he leaves to the reader’s imagination.