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How do you define "like"? As #3 identifies, it is clear that some of the material in this novel is shocking and offensive in its violence and graphic nature. However, I believe that good literature should not always be "liked." I don't read books because I "like" them. I read because I want to be challenged and want to have my horizons broadened. Both of these this book achieves flawlessly.
I really liked this novel. I was drawn to the first person narrator, who from chapter one, stated that he had spent his life trying to live down an event from his childhood. It made me read closer to understand his characterization and his growth from boyhood to manhood. While I kind of groaned at the contrivance of the plot point that Amir was going to have to face-down Assef in order to save Sohrab -- thus redeem himself in a very parallel way, I still cheered him on and actually liked the fact that physically gettingSohrab out of Afghanistan was the easy part. Getting Sohrab the emotional healing that is suggested by the last chapter was what ultimately frees him from his guilt, and I liked that the novel had a hopeful ending, not a perfectly happy ending.
I did not like it. I do not like this kind of book that is supposed to make me feel bad for people who are suffering. I don't like literature where such terrible things happen to people. I want to read to enjoy myself, not to have my consciousness raised.
If I want to learn about how things are in some foreign country (like in Afghanistan under the Taliban) I will read non-fiction. I do not want to read some fictionalized account that is supposed to tell me how things really are.
I did like it. I think that it was difficult for me not to like it. In my mind, the book was able to walk that fine line between showing pain and anguish that is a part of consciousness, but also reflect how individuals are not locked into inaction because of it. There is much in Amir's narrative that represents pain. Certainly, the trials of what Afghanistan has undergone in the last three decades is a part of this. At the same time, the personal anguish that is experienced in Amir's life is difficult to experience. However, I thought it was wonderful that while Amir leaves to the United States, he does not see it as an example to cut off that part of his consciousness. He is still able to forge connections with who he is, though it might be so closely linked to pain. Amir's return to Afghanistan and his rescue of his nephew helps to heighten this. I think that in showing him to be a fluid character, I liked the idea of someone real enough to experience pain and all that goes with it, yet not be victimized by it. In the end, action is something that can be taken by everyone, to differing extents. Perhaps, revolutions cannot be waged to alter entire aspects of consciousness, but individuals do have some level of freedom and the challenge is to recognize how, in the midst of our own pain and suffering, action and autonomy is still present.
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