This is a story of an Afghan man, Amir, who migrated to the US due to the damage done to his native country of Afghanistan. He writes about the time he was growing up in Kabul. His best friend was his servant’s son, Hassan. The title Kite Runner refers to Hassan, who is the best person in Kabul to run after the kite after Amir, who is an expert to fly kites, has cut it. Something devastating happens to Hassan, of which both Amir and Hassan have to bear the cruel circumstances. Their friendship is torn apart, are separated and totally changes their lives forever.
“Unfolding against Afghanistan’s destructive history, from the fall of the monarchy to the oppression of the Northern Alliance to the advent of the Taliban, The Kite Runner is the heartbreaking story of fathers and sons, friendship and betrayal, the casualties of fate, and the possibility of redemption.”
What touched me the most in this book were two things. One, the portrayal of the father-son relationship, which is often rocky and unfulfilled. The pain, and the desperate need of approval of his father, Amir has to live life knowing that his father is too busy for him. Two, the friendship between Amir and Hassan. Something devastating happens, and friends react differently to what one would expect and drift apart. The awesome thing is that although the relationships have been broken, there is redemption for Amir. He is able to give new life to the dead relationship.
There is a lot of dread and fear as the adult Amir seeks to reconcile with his past and redeem himself for his attitude towards Hassan. The crux of the novel, which is reinforced by Amir’s action as he lands in Afghanistan to rescue Hassan’s son, is that there is a way to be good again. We all seek that in our lives; a way to be good again.
The book starts off slow, because it takes time to establish the characters and to familiarize with the family members and the ritual of running for kites. Once that shocking incident happens, the book reads like a fast paced novel. I simply could not put it down and managed to finish it within two days. I wanted to know desperately what happens at the end. I wanted to know so much if Amir can redeem his past relationships. Of course, there are loads of shocks, surprises, twists and anti-climax occurring in the book that I could not see from afar.
Highly recommended, and my favorite book of the year, so far!
Originally published in Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, April 2015