Tag Archives: Bullying

Book Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

This novel has been on my ‘To read’ list for a long time, and the only reason that I have only just read it is that eternal problem of ‘too many books, too little time’.  I am sure that fellow voracious readers will fully understand that problem!

Unlike some modern classics, The Kite Runner not only lived up to its reputation – for me it completely smashed it, and quite simply is one of the very best books I have ever read.

For those of you who don’t know the story, or who haven’t cheated by watching the film first (shame on you ;-)), The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan and the USA and tells the story of 2 young boys growing up in Kabul in the 1970s/80s during a time of great conflict, both externally with the Russian invasion, and internally with having to cope with class and ethnic divide.  Mention the word Afghanistan in the modern world, and most people will probably immediately think of war.  Although there is war in the book, from the Russian invasion and the emergence of the Taliban in the 1990s, there is also great description of the lives and traditions of ordinary Afghan people, which makes it all the more heartbreaking to think of the pain that has been inflicted on them over many years, from many different forces.

I really felt transported to the streets of Kabul, fully immersed in the sights, sounds and tastes of the boys’ childhood.  The story itself was so powerful and intoxicating to me that every so often I had to physically put the book down and remind myself to breathe.  This book is just so staggeringly beautiful, and destined to become a classic novel of our times.  I simply cannot wait to read Hosseini’s subsequent novels, and have already places and order at the library for A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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The Literary Owl rating: 10/10 (if there was a higher score than that, I would give it!)

Read with: Lots and lots of high-quality tea.

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Filed under Book Review, Literary Fiction

Book Review: Rupture by Simon Lelic

The Literary Owl rating: 4/5

Read with: A relaxing cup of chamomile tea

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When a teacher fires a gun during a school assembly, killing 3 pupils and a colleague before taking his own life, it appears to be a case that the police can wrap up in a matter of days.  One Police Officer however cannot let go of the investigation, and is determined to find out why: What would drive a teacher to commit such an atrocity?  What was going on at the school that the headmaster and other teachers are helping to cover up?

Rupture follows Inspector Lucia May as she seeks the answers to these questions against the backdrop of her own difficult personal issues, and pressure from senior officers to file her report and move on.

The theme of the novel is bullying: its effect on both adult child victims, and the reasons why so many people fail to act to prevent it.  The subject matter is handled perfectly by Lelic, who weaves a believable plot and realistic characters to a satisfying conclusion.

The character of Lucia May is well-crafted and I was as gripped as she was by the desire to know more about the circumstances of the killings, and the events leading up to the tragedy.  The vulnerability in her personal life made an engaging contrast with her determination in her investigation to find the truth.  At the end of the book I was left wanting to know more about her and find out what happened to her afterwards.

The story itself stayed with me, and made me think back to my own experiences with bullying, mainly as an observer, and wonder whether there was more I could have done to prevent it happening.  Though I’ve classified it as a crime novel, Lelic’s expert handling of the effects of bullying make it stand out as possessing a deeper soul than most books within that genre.  The fact that Rupture is his debut makes it even more impressive.  Highly recommended.

Simon Lelic has now officially made my ‘must read his other books’ list and I will report back when I read more!

Rupture, published as A Thousand Cuts in the US can be bought here at amazon.com or here at amazon.co.uk

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Filed under Book Review, Crime fiction