24 September 2014


On the left - Ben Turner as Amir
On our recent holiday, not only did I read Bill Bryson's "One Summer - America - 1927" but also Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea" and half of "The Kite Runner" by Afghani- American writer - Khaled Hosseini.

It's a popular book. Published in 2003, "The Kite Runner" has enjoyed phenomenal sales around the world and was even turned into a Hollywood film back in 2007. I cannot say that I was knocked out by it. I had certain misgivings but at its heart there is a readable, engaging tale that transports readers to troubled Afghanistan - a very rare destination for western fiction.

Hassan is the "kite runner". He chases fallen kites and retrieves them for his master's son - Amir. Neither of them know at this time that they are half brothers. Amir has to live with the legacy of his cowardice while brave Hassan finally dies at the hands of the vindictive Talibs. Though now settled in San Francisco, after twenty years  Amir is drawn back to his homeland - partly to atone for his guilt and his weakness. He had seen Hassan subjected to  violent male rape but did nothing. His father, Baba, would certainly have acted. These matters hang over Amir's life like a dark cloud.

Anyway, on Monday night a play version of "The Kite Runner" was presented at Birmingham Rep. Frances invited me over to see it and we were both mesmerised by the production - apart from the moment when a mobile phone rang in the front row disturbing the lead actors' dramatic concentration.

The demanding role of Amir was taken by British Iranian actor Ben Turner who once starred in the BBC Saturday night TV hospital soap opera - "Casualty". He was very good and the production as a whole enjoyed the assistance of some very clever dramatic devices to turn Hosseini's fictional vision into theatrical believability.

Later we had a drink and a natter in "The Brown Lion" - only to discover that this hundred year old pub is to close its doors forever in a fortnight. As George Harrison once said before he himself passed - "All things must pass".


  1. I've not read the book, nor have I seen the movie of "The Kite Runner". And in the mood I'm in at present, I doubt I'll be reading it any time soon.

    Perhaps I need a drink and a natter in "The Brown Lion" much more. :)

    1. Yes. I will meet you in "The Brown Lion" Lee. You can buy the first round.

  2. "The Kite Runner" and the book Mr. Hosseini wrote after that, "Tausend strahlende Sonnen" (I've read it in German so not sure about its original title - translations are daft sometimes) were both books that I found beautiful and terrible at the same time. I learned a lot about what daily life is like probably for millions of people in Afghanistan, and all I can say is I do not envy them, neither the men nor the women.
    The production you saw sounds very good; certainly not easy material to put on stage.

    By the way, I have posted my review of "The Headland" a few days ago. You know you are most welcome to leave a comment there. Also, I'd like to email you about the few typos and editorial errors I found, but your blogger profile does not give an email address. Email me first so that I can reply?

    1. You are right, It cannot have been easy to turn this book into a stage play. I think they did a really good job of it.

  3. I decided against reading the book or watching the film after listening to various friends who had done both: I find real life events horrible enough these days.

    1. I suppose it could be said that "The Kite Runner" ends with hope and shows the dignity of the human spirit. For me it was engaging to read some fiction that gave Afghanistan a human face.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

Most Visits