The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Riverhead Books, 2004, c.2003.

Amir has been struggling his whole life long with the knowledge that his father despised him for what he perceived as character flaws. In addition, his father seemed to show more interest in Amir's best friend, Hassan, the son of his servant, than in his own son. In an attempt to catch and hold his father's attention, Amir betrayed Hassan, resulting in the estrangement of the two families after a 40-year friendship. Now, after many years and a flight to America ahead of the Taliban, he still feels guilt and loss, and castigates himself on his lack of character and lack of courage.

After his father's death, Amir receives a cryptic phone call from a family friend in Afghanistan, urgently requesting him to "Come. There is a way to be good again." He decides, now that he is married, to accept the offer in the hope that the truth can finally be told, the guilt assuaged, and the weight of hidden secrets can be lifted from his relationships. And so, he returns to Afghanistan to meet Rahim Khan, a journey that becomes an epiphany.


The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. Atria Books, 2006.

Nearly reclusive Margaret, who writes biographies of dead authors, is summoned to write the life story of a living author of many popular books. Reluctantly, she allows herself to be persuaded, and is drawn into a bizarre story of madness, incest, twin-talk, and research.

Vida Winter, a self-described storyteller, has provided at least 20 different accounts of her life to journalists. Now nearing death, she is oddly haunted by the earlier request of a brown-suited journalist to "tell the truth". It is up to Margaret to determine whether, this time, the story is fact or fiction.