- CRRL Staff
This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form, and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
If you liked The Kite Runner, you might enjoy these other titles.
Born Under A Million Shadows: A Novel by Andrea Busfield
The Taliban have withdrawn from Kabul's streets, but the long shadows of their regime remain. In his short life, eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister has been abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the charity of parsimonious relatives to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence. Ever the optimist, Fawad hopes for a better life, and his dream is realized when Mariya finds a position as a housekeeper for a charismatic Western woman, Georgie, and her two foreign friends. The world of aid workers and journalists is a new one for Fawad, and living with the trio offers endless curiosities—including Georgie's destructive relationship with the powerful Afghan warlord Haji Khan, whose exploits are legendary. Fawad grows resentful and worried until he comes to learn that love can move a man to act in surprisingly good ways. But life, especially in Kabul, is never without peril, and the next calamity Fawad must face is so devastating that it threatens to destroy the one thing he thought he could never lose: his love for his country.
Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
In this haunting and fanciful story about an Iraqi community in Los Angeles. Sirine, who is half-Arab and a chef at a Lebanese restaurant, falls hopelessly in love with Han, an Iraqi exile, and professor at a local university. Abu-Jaber weaves into the novel a fanciful folktale of a mother's search for her wandering son, told by Sirine's uncle-turned-surrogate-father.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
A portrait of India featuring four characters. Two are tailors who are forcibly sterilized, one is a student who emigrates, and the fourth is a widowed seamstress who decides to hang on. A tale of cruelty, political thuggery, and despair.
A Good Country: A Novel by Laleh Khadivi
Laguna Beach, California, 2009. Alireza Courdee, a fourteen-year-old straight-A student and chemistry whiz, takes his first hit of pot. In as long as it takes to inhale and exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. He loses his virginity, takes up surfing, and sneaks away to all-night raves. For the first time, Reza—now Rez—feels like an American teen. Life is smooth; even lying to his strict father comes easily. But then he changes again, falling out with the bad boy surfers and in with a group of kids more awake to the world around them, who share his background, and whose ideas fill him with a very different sense of purpose. Within a year, Reza and two friends are making their way to Syria to join in the fight. Timely, nuanced, and emotionally forceful, A Good Country is a gorgeous meditation on modern life, religious radicalization, and a young man caught between vastly different worlds. What we are left with at the dramatic end is not an assessment of good or evil, east versus west, but a lingering question that applies to all souls: Does a person decide how to live, or is their life decided for them?
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judgeʼs cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. (catalog summary)
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul: A Novel by Deborah Rodriguez
After hard luck and heartbreak, Sunny finally finds a place to call home—in the middle of an Afghanistan war zone. There, the thirty-eight-year-old serves up her American hospitality to the expats who patronizer her coffee shop. (catalog summary)
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world.
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school and rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. (catalog summary)
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
A portrayal of two women discovering an emotional rapport as they struggle against the confines of a rigid caste system. (catalog summary)
Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra
Set in Kabul under the rule of the Taliban, this novel takes readers into the lives of two couples: Mohsen, who comes from a family of wealthy shopkeepers whom the Taliban has destroyed; Zunaira, his wife, exceedingly beautiful, who was once a brilliant teacher and is now no longer allowed to leave her home without an escort or covering her face. Intersecting their world is Atiq, a prison keeper, a man who has sincerely adopted the Taliban ideology and struggles to keep his faith, and his wife, Musarrat, who once rescued Atiq and is now dying. (catalog summary)