This book was a present (thanks, Jess), and a darned good one at that.

The story’s simple enough, really, dealing with the relationship between Amir and Hassan, two young boys growing up together in Afghanistan in the 1970s.

And yet it’s really much more complex than that, dealing with children’s friendships and the complex emotions underlying them. The prose is almost sparse, but this is definitely an asset – in order to make you understand what a character’s feeling or thinking, Hosseini provides the bare bones, allowing the reader to draw on their own experience to flesh it out, and this sense of reader-involvement makes it more affecting.

There are one or two slightly contrived plot occurrences – though you could say the same about ‘Candide’(and indeed I did) and that’s held in high regard – but the general pacing and emotional resonance of the book is strong enough to make these forgivable, and there are some passages which seem so perfectly crafted it’s hard to believe this is a first novel.

Very good stuff indeed, and definitely recommended.