It’s been a year since I’ve read The Kite Runner, one of the most powerful books I’ve read. This brilliant book shattered my idea that no literary work will ever make a big boy like me to cry. I picked this book in the bookstore because it got massive positive treatment all over the internet. But nothing could have prepared me for what’s inside the pages waiting.
The story is about two Afghan boys; Amir, a privileged upper class Pashtun and his friendship with Hassan, the son of the family’s lower class Hazara servant; Amir the rich kid, who can read and write pretty well, who worships his father and the son who can’t meet his expectations; Hassan the servant, the cleft lip, the illiterate, the object of every bully’s discrimination, the gifted kite runner and forever a loyal friend. “Amir, for you a thousand times over…”
Their childhood stories took place in the 1980’s Kabul – a peaceful place adorned with rich customs and traditions, of poets and writers, where its people similar to other cultures value honor, blood ties and friendship. It was a time before the Russian invasion, before the Mujahidin uprising, and the later terror created by the Taliban that reached the Western World. Those were the years where every Afghan kid participated in the kite-flying tournaments every winter. Their treasured kites filled with glue and ground glasses in their strings flocked the sky – waging wars against the other. The rules were simple: cut the other kites’ string and be the last one flying. And when the victor cuts its last victim it is when the kite running begins – the hunt for the last fallen kite. The wining kite glider and the successful kite runner receive eternal glory a.k.a. one year’s worth of bragging rights.
Though Amir and Hassan have very different status in society they grew up as close friends until that fateful day when Amir chose the path of least resistance and betrayed his friend. That event scarred him beyond repair throughout his life. Amir’s father later told him “sometimes the event of a single day changes the entire course of an entire life”.
But can glory ever pay the cost of betrayal and destroyed friendship?
Scarred and scared Amir, with his father, escaped his country’s turmoil and immigrated in the United States. Scarred and betrayed Hassan, with his limping father, stayed in Afghanistan and endured the wars that destroyed their country. Amir struggled to let go of the past and forgiveness and redemption suddenly becomes a rare luxury.
Until one day the grown up Amir is tested once again when given another chance to right his past. His redemption lies on the expedition to protect a young boy’s life.
“There’s a way to be good again.”
The Kite Runner is an amazing story that touches the universal themes of humanity, friendship, family, betrayal cruelty and most of all redemption. Khaled Hosseini has this writing ability to pinpoint that deepest nerve in our heart, grab it and pull it out just to remind us how human we are. He makes it look so simple yet poignant and the irony of it is that he’s not even a full time writer but a doctor. Its story worth reading and rereading, you’ll never get tired talking about it to relieve the humor and the darkest moments of the story. The characters are so well developed as if they were there in your reading area gossiping. Amir’s voice, the narrator, is contemporary everybody can relate to, sometimes you adore him, laugh and cry with him and suddenly you want to beat the heck out of him.
The Kite Runner full-scale and authentic page turner you’d never want to put the book down once you start. I do believe this is one of the books I could recommend to everyone from the young men in college to all kinds of fathers, to girlfriends and best friends, to the chauvinist, the pacifists and the feminists, regardless if they are interested about the Middle-East and wars or not. This book is not about culture, religion and geography; it is about being human and the rare display of the soul-searching power of literature.