Read 23 – 25 February 2012
My Rating 3 / 5
I should have loved this book, and other reviews have been really positive – see here on Amazon and Alan’s own blog.
It just didn’t do it for me, and I can’t seem to put my finger on the reason why. I enjoyed the beginning section, following Katya as she is caught in the midst of the Kosovan conflict of the late 1990’s, But, from chapter five onwards, I really really struggled with this book.
I think the main thing I struggled with was Reynolds’ writing style. It, to me, felt clunky in places and I have to say that the use of “inverted commas” drove me insane from chapter five onwards. I recognise this is personal choice but I found it really really irritating and it just interfered with the text for me.
The book follows Katya as she escapes Kosovo with her young son, and finds herself on a housing estate in Newcastle. The story explores the lives of some key characters in the flats where Katya and Edi (another refugee) are housed, and goes someway to painting the picture of life in this area of England.
I’d have liked to have seen/read more about Katya’s time in Kosovo, and to see a bit more depth about the war in order to provide some understanding the conflict. There is reference to the KLA and how NATO sees them as terrorists, but the ordinary Kosovon doesn’t – it’s a complex, yet important, part of European history and I’d have liked to have seen Reynolds dig deeper into this and go some way to explaining the conflict to the reader; I think this would have gone some way to getting a deeper feel and, for me, a greater connection to the character of Katya.
I recognise that given earlier reviews of this book I am absolutely in the minority with my review, so I really urge you to read this book yourself and come to your own judgement. It just didn’t work for me, despite me really really wanting it to.
If you do read Flying with Kites, I’d love to know what you think, so please do comment on this review!