13 October 2006

The Element of Fiction

I came across and bought this novel at Phnom Penh Psa Tmey (New Market)last week. It was the only copy left. The cover was a bit dusty and slightly torn. The pitcure shown here was borrowed from Amazon.com website.

My Review:
The novel "The Kite Runner" was written by Khaled Hosseini. The story is about two Afghanistan boys. One is the privileged educated while the other boy is illiterate and very poor. Thier lives interconnected with each other with elements of love, loyalty, hatred, cowardice, bravery, violence, hornour, and secrecy .

Although I am Khmer and (non-practicing)Buddhist by religion, I wanted to try a reading on different part of the world: Afghanistan and Islam. From this book I've learned alot about Afghanistan during the Taliban ruled. It's sooooooo good!! I wish I can write like this author. The novel is 370 pages long and easy read. Recommended !! Please continue reading the selected excerpts i choose. The first one on 'greed' and the subsequent one on 'sin'.
Excerpt#1: (on greed)
"That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms." -- Chapter 4 page 31 "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

Here's a conversation between the boy named Amir and his Baba (father)taken directly from the end of chapter 3 of the novel. (Mullah is a Muslim clergy).
Excerpt #2: (on sin)
"Hmm." Baba crushed an ice cube between his teeth. "Do you want to know what your father thinks about sin ?"
"Then I'll tell you, " Baba said, "but first understand this and understand it now, Amir: You'll never learn anything of value from those bearded idiots."
"You mean Mullah Fatiullah Khan?"
Baba gestured with his glass. The ice clinked. "I mean all of them. Piss on the beards of all those self-rightteous monkeys...They do nothing but thumb their prayer beads and recite a book written in a tongue they don't even understand". [...]
"Now no matter what the mullah teaches,there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that ?"

"No, Baba jan," I said, desperately wishing I did. I didn't want to disappoint him again. [....]

"When you kill a man, you steal a life," Baba said. "You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see ?" --- Chapter 3 page 17-18 "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

These passages really stimulated me. How I marvel at creative writing of the book ! This is the first novel I read that I felt so touched. I cried a least 3 times during the reading. So if you're picking this book up, let me warn you: Be prepared to wipe your tears and blow your nose.

Thom Vanak

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like to read Khmer books.