- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
For August, 2012, our Online Book Club continues by discussing The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and it's ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by leaving comments below!
Question for Week 4:
When Amir and Baba move to the States their relationship changes. Discuss these changes in their relationship.
As I considered the changes in the relationship between Amir and Baba during their lives in America, I was struck by the details the author does not talk about, as well as the ones he does. Baba and Amir moved from a large, wealthy home to a refugee camp to a small apartment. How did the intimacies of sharing this small space with only each other affect them? Also, Amir becomes more dominant as he becomes "the English speaker" for a father who speaks only broken English. How does that affect them?
Baba certainly retains his authority as the father. "Don't you challenge me in public, Amir. Ever. Who do you think you are?" he says after leaving the doctor's office. Baba is also the one to speak to General Taheri about Amir and Soraya becoming engaged, following Afghan custom.
He shows his love by supporting Amir financially through his job at the gas station, and later spends his life savings on Amir's wedding. And on the day of "lafz, the ceremony of "giving word" for the engagement of Amir and Soraya, Baba says that "It's the happiest day of my life, Amir." Finally, Baba retained his nang and namoose throughout his life. "Honor and pride. The tenets of Pashtun men."
One of Amir's childhood wishes comes true. In America, he and Baba spend a great deal of time together, at home and later working together buying and selling flea market items. I think this time together, as well as Baba's illness, shows Amir that Baba is not just his father, but a man with human frailities. Such a man is less intimidating and more approachable than a distant, lionized authority figure. After Baba called General Taheri to ask if he could come by to discuss "an honorable matter... Amir bursts into giggles, and Baba joins in". It is good to see them sharing such a moment.
Amir also realizes that his father is proud of his writing ability when Baba shows Soraya the book Amir first wrote stories in. Baba accepted Amir's writing as he went to college, but showing the book off was more... much like showing off the blue kite from Amir's tournament.
Readers, please join us at 7:00 PM tomorrow, August 23, 2012 as Khaled Hosseini comes to San Jose Public Library for an author talk and discussion at Almaden Library and Community Center. Meet the author of this month's book, The Kite Runner. We hope to see you there!
For August, 2012, our Online Book Club continues by discussing The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and its ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by leaving comments below!
Question for Week 3:
What is the significance of the novel's title? What might the kite fighting tournament symbolize?
There are two main characters in the book who act as kite runners, Hassan and Amir. Hassan was the first, "the best kite runner in Wazir Akbar Khan. Maybe all of Kabul". Hassan ran for the blue kite, the last opponent's kite that was cut down from the sky during the tournament Amir won. At the end of the book, Amir acts as kite runner for Hassan's son, Sohrab, during a gathering of Afghani refugees in California.
The circularity of these runs is stunning. Both Hassan and Amir embraced their roles as assistants and runners. By doing so, they showed their love for the kite fighter and the lengths they would go to in order to serve him... "a thousand times over". Hassan had always embraced this love. Amir had to change, take action, and grow into his role over the course of the book.
Amir states that "In Kabul, fighting kites WAS a little like going to war". As in war, the victor who cut the last opponent's kite string was feted and cheered. The last downed kite was the biggest trophy of the battle, and the kite runner who found it got to keep it. (In Hassan's case, he wanted to give the kite to Amir).
"Afghans cherish customs but abhor rules." "And when a kite runner had his hands on a kite, no one could take if from him. That wasn't a rule. That was custom." However, it was not the case for Hassan. Asef's brutality and his rage at Amir and Hassan led him and his friends to hunt Hassan down. In order to keep the blue kite he'd found for Amir, Hassan endured Asef raping him. At the end of the book, when Amir ran for Hassan's son, he says "I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips. I ran."
Kite fighting is found not only in Afghanistan but throughout Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Japan, and Korea. It can also be found in the Caribbean, South America (Chile), and most recently, in the United States.
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Time: 7:00 p.m.
6445 Camden Ave. San José, CA
The event is free and open to the public.
Light snacks and refreshments will be available.
Join us as author Khaled Hosseini talks about his writing inspirations, life experiences and upcoming projects. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and meet the best-selling author. The event will be followed by a book signing.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, moved to San José as a teenager, earned a bachelor's degree in Biology at Santa Clara University, and a Medical Degree at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine.
While in medical practice, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner. In 2003, The Kite Runner, was published and became an international bestseller, published in 70 countries. In 2006, he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in May 2007. Khaled works to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through The Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
This program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.