Childhood’s terrible toll

Book review: ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

I APPROACHED this book with prejudice. I had not expected to like it, firstly because almost anything that wins universal high praise – books or otherwise – sets up an expectation that very often has the perverse effect of turning me off the subject. Widespread lavish admiration engenders a suspicion in me, justified or not, that it is being prompted by fashion: in other words, hype makes me cynical and rebellious.

I had not read reviews of this novel beyond headlines, partly for this reason. Continue reading

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Bleak written all over it: a family feud saga from a dark literary heritage

Book review: ‘The Brothers’ by Asko Sahlberg

LIKE a neat, impressionistic Chekhov story or an arty French film – in which single sounds and close-ups of movements are potent with meaning – ‘The Brothers’ gives an episodic insight into a brief but significant span of time in enclosed world.

This is 19th-century Finland, a beautiful, melancholy snow- and alcohol-filled setting, but the intense love-loathing rivalry between brothers Henrik and Erik, universally readily identifiable, could be transferred to almost any place and time.

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