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  #11  
Old 08-22-2005, 02:49 PM
Benjamin R. Shedlock
 
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Come on now, substantive critique, please! This board is fraught with error.

In any case, I think Amir was supposed to be the way you feel about him. The author was not trying to be an apologist for his actions. In any case, I think that whole story line was a way to incorporate a modern afghanistan. And besides, how can you hate Amir without making mention of Assef and his pedophilia? At least Amir tried, and by some accounts succeeded, at getting redemption. Anyway, I think Afghanistan's current state is the overriding theme.
I also think that the symbol system of the kite and the kite fighting was very clever. So many books have used flight to represent freedom, innocence, and childhood. I think freedom is the most important of these, though. Has anyone read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man? Song Of Solomon? Hosseini expanded on a very important motif.
I didn't like the campy plot, though. The Power Of One, anybody? Peekay attacking his childhood Nazi tormentor? I was aggravated by this point in the book. Hosseini could have reached a little deeper and found a more interesting way to resolve Assef. The only reason it was done this way was to get Sohrab to take on Hassan's characteristics. Suspension of disbelief does not go this far for me. This world was too small.
I don't know too much about the author, but for a non-native English speaker, it was a well written book. If that is the case, anyway. However, I was annoyed by the style. Sometimes the wording was a little off beat and it through the book out of rythm. I couldn't find any reason for this, so I think it was just sloppy writing.
In all, it was a thought provoking book, with some admirable qualities, but we didn't just read the next Joyce or Irving.
Cheers,
Benjamin
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2005, 03:03 PM
Golbanou Tabatabaie's Avatar
Golbanou Tabatabaie Golbanou Tabatabaie is offline
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Looks like I stepped on a nerve or two. Excellent.
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:20 PM
Rachel M. Kenner
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin R. Shedlock
Come on now, substantive critique, please!

Touché.

Quote:
In any case, I think Amir was supposed to be the way you feel about him. The author was not trying to be an apologist for his actions. In any case, I think that whole story line was a way to incorporate a modern afghanistan. And besides, how can you hate Amir without making mention of Assef and his pedophilia? At least Amir tried, and by some accounts succeeded, at getting redemption. Anyway, I think Afghanistan's current state is the overriding theme.

The difference, I think, is that Assef is clearly assigned the role of villain. We're not supposed to like him and we know from the second he first appears that he's not going to be a nice guy. We do not expect him to be redeemed. Amir, however, plays the role generally occupied by the protaginist (which I'm sure I'm misspelling), ie, the narrator. Most narrators are protaginists, and protaginists are supposed to be likeable or someone tha tyou can root for. Amir is neither. In fact, it could be argued that Hassan, not Amir, is the protaginist, and that Amir is, in fact, the antagonist.

Quote:
I didn't like the campy plot, though. The Power Of One, anybody? Peekay attacking his childhood Nazi tormentor? I was aggravated by this point in the book. Hosseini could have reached a little deeper and found a more interesting way to resolve Assef. The only reason it was done this way was to get Sohrab to take on Hassan's characteristics. Suspension of disbelief does not go this far for me. This world was too small.

Agreed. Far too predictable. The kite motif was clever, but the polot itself was lacking. Not that I would have liked to see this happen, but it might have been interesting had Amir failed, and thus lost his only chance to be redeemed. It was utterly ridiculous to have Assef be the almost archetypal (more misspelling, aigh) villain, but I suppose it's expected that the bad guy gets punished. Plus, Amir couldn't be fully redeemed unless he beat up the original villian. I did like that Amir didn't quite succeed, and that the ending wasn't quite happy, but that didn't make up for the rest.

And The Power of One is awesome.

Cheers
Rachel
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:36 PM
Golbanou Tabatabaie's Avatar
Golbanou Tabatabaie Golbanou Tabatabaie is offline
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Heyyyy....your avatar is from Wicked isn't it.....?
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:36 PM
Zachary C. Kanfer
 
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Ooh, first flamewar...of sorts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Sprague
What about making fun of people for poor grammar or foolishly imitating Edward Estlin Cummings?


there's

not too much

w
r
o
n
g

with
that
I suppose, al
thou
gh

it can
make for

very

hard
to read
po
sts

(so maybe
it is bad
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2005, 04:56 PM
Rachel M. Kenner
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golly Tabatabaie
Heyyyy....your avatar is from Wicked isn't it.....?

It certainly is.
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2005, 05:01 PM
Jennifer A. Richter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel M. Kenner
The difference, I think, is that Assef is clearly assigned the role of villain. We're not supposed to like him and we know from the second he first appears that he's not going to be a nice guy.

Pssht, Yeah, seriously he was practically waving a red flag to that end. He was running around going "I love Hitler, I love Hitler!"
He had a big flashing neon sign over his head saying "Evil Bastard Here->! YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE LAST OF HIM!"
I'm supprised he didnt have a twisty black moustache. *rolleyes*

And I too think Amir was a bit pathetic.
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  #18  
Old 08-22-2005, 06:03 PM
Jenna L. Scandone
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Sprague
What about making fun of people for poor grammar or foolishly imitating Edward Estlin Cummings?

oh, well thats ok
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  #19  
Old 08-22-2005, 06:06 PM
Jenna L. Scandone
 
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and the childhood tormentor thing wasnt about that, it was more to show the reader that the criminals that are the taliban are actual people, and had childhoods, and people knew them as children. its supposed to give you the same feeling as if you saw a childhood friend on CNN causing mass terror. basicly, its supposed to show you how close to home these people hit. at least thats what i got.
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  #20  
Old 08-22-2005, 06:30 PM
Benjamin R. Shedlock
 
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No- Maybe I'm missing something, but I really think Amir's gotta be the protagonist. The whole thing revolves around his redemption. Hassan was a device for setting up the problem for Amir. Hassan never has to redeem himself- he just has an uphill struggle for the entire book and his entire life. I never really saw more than him being downtrodden. I thought he was a strong character, likable and interesting, but I never really saw him as fighting against anything.

Agreed. The plot was just a little too bland. Beyond the kite/freedom thing, I didn't really see much to get excited about. I disagree on the ending-- I thought it was positive. There was no need to trace anyone any further; Sohrab picked up his childhood where Amir and Hassan left off- flying a kite, and he began to engage the world at that point. I think only that Hosseini thinks that that's as much as anyone could have been redeemed. I didn't like the ending, as I thought it was too easy. You just can't destroy children in American books.

Yea, it's supposed to show how close home it hit, but is showing a whole community getting back on its feet really the most effective way to do that? WHy not just sit there and chronicle thirty years of a village being systematically destroyed and never quite rebuilt?

Whatever. At least the book provokes good discussion with its inadequacy!
Cheers,
Benjamin
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