I enjoyed “The Kite Runner” and am genuinely surprised there is such a wide range of criticism. I certainly wouldn’t consider the book to be a favorit...moreI enjoyed “The Kite Runner” and am genuinely surprised there is such a wide range of criticism. I certainly wouldn’t consider the book to be a favorite but it doesn’t elicit any type of anger from me or lead me to label it as “trash.” In fact, I think Hosseini did a brilliant job in introducing me to another country and culture.
The novel was very much hyped when it was published (I’ve only just read it in order to distance myself from any possible alliances of love and hate). I’ve gathered from reading reviews that some people felt that Amir was an awful person who never truly redeemed himself. This brings back such strong memories of the criticisms of Briony from Atonement. I liken this reaction to how people feel when watching a film in which the villain is so awful they can barely stand it. When this occurs, the actor/writer/director achieves their goal and the effect is momentous. I think that it’s extremely important that readers who are critical of the book based on Amir, understand that Hosseini created a character that couldn’t be painted as either black or white. Amir was a complex human who had a misunderstood past and present. He was a flawed human being who was representative of who we actually are – imperfect. If readers were looking for a strong and perfect hero that could do no wrong, then they should have picked up a Grimms fairy tale book.
That being said, while I thought several characters were a rich addition to the book (especially Hassan whose loyalty both annoyed and made me love him even more), the story was flawed. Hosseini glazes over the story with over sentimentality and a rather cheapened way to avenge wrongs. The good guys/heroes in the book are written well in that they are complex and everyone has some kind of defect. However, the villains in the book are much too simple. The bad are bad and there’s no ifs ands or buts. It seemed so easy to paint Aseef as not only a racist but a rapist, child molester and sociopath. I found it cartoonish that Amir’s return to Afghanistan leads him directly back to Aseef which seems like far too much of a coincidence. Readers are moving along with Amir who is experiencing nostalgia and heartache over the changed Afghanistan, to meeting with Aseef once more. I understand that Hosseini means to take the story full circle but this is much too simplified.
In the end, I can understand the criticism that people have but I don’t think that it merits labeling this book as awful. (less)
Two Weeks in Another Town follows Jack Andrus also known as Jack Royal, a former successful Hollywood actor. Jack is a changed man from his Hollywood...moreTwo Weeks in Another Town follows Jack Andrus also known as Jack Royal, a former successful Hollywood actor. Jack is a changed man from his Hollywood days where he was opinionated, motivated and challenging. Both WWII and life's unexpected twists and turns have left him bitter and bored. Following his departure from Hollywood, Jack has settled into life of normalcy with his French wife, their French children and a dull job at NATO.
One day, he is contacted by Maurice Delaney, a former hot shot film director. The two share a close relationship as their greatest films were due to their collaboration. Their relationship allows them to fully confide in one another, even outside of work. Delaney asks him to come to Rome to work with him again on a new picture. He desperately hopes that this film will revive his career and renew everyone's confidence in him as an director. Due to their shared history, Jack agrees to meet him there.
He arrives in Rome and finds himself falling for a young Italian woman named Veronica. Jack immediately realizes trouble follows Veronica as he is confronted by Breasch, her live-in lover. As Jack spends more time away from home, he is able to fully reflect on his past mistakes and the women he loved. In Breasch, Jack sees a younger version of himself as well as a representation of his estranged son. He takes him under his wing and assists him in his film endeavors. This soon renews Jack's energy in life.
Two Weeks in Another Town was a slow but enjoyable read. None of the characters could be deemed "likeable" as they were nearly all vain, volatile and unashamedly engaging in extramarital affairs. However, this may be due to Shaw's portrayal of a Hollywood filled with has-beens. I was annoyed that details of Jack's experiences in World War II were left out as I was lead to believed this played a large part in his current development. Yet, with all Shaw novels I was unable to put the book down as each chapter contained an interesting spark that moved me forward and forward until I reached the very end.(less)
I took a class with Dr. Wolf who used “Beyond Anne Frank” as one of our course books. The Scoiology course was “Jewish Family.” The book was very well...moreI took a class with Dr. Wolf who used “Beyond Anne Frank” as one of our course books. The Scoiology course was “Jewish Family.” The book was very well written and Dr. Wolf did a fantastic job studying how survivors coped after the war. However, I agree with other posters in that it certainly left one wanting more than just snippets of each person’s experiences. Yet, I can hardly criticize Dr. Wolf seeing as how the book’s objective was to provide insight and details into her study. (less)