The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

kite-runner.jpg

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, is a story of betrayal, love, and redemption set in modern Afghanistan. Amir, son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, is best friends with Hassan, the son of the household servant. Amir lacks the courage to defend his friend from the brutality of local bullies; this action and the resulting guilt and shame changes the destiny of both families.

The Kite runner spans over three decades of great upheaval in Afghanistan. We in the West knew so little about this country until the events of September 11th propelled the US to invade and oust the fundamentalist Taliban. There was a monarchy, then a democracy, the Soviets invaded, then they were expelled, the Northern Alliance and infighting among Afghan tribes brought destruction to Kabul, the Taliban – punitive, oppressive order. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion. Most travelled first to Pakistan. Those who could, including in this novel Amir and his father, came to the U.S, where the immigrant story is so familiar – former generals and surgeons working gas pumps to stay alive. All hope is placed on the younger generation to succeed.

Although The Kite Runner is set in this true background of social upheaval, the magic of the novel is in its characters and storytelling. There is great psychological insight and complexity and the arc of the story returns us to its beginning, where Amir must face his past and make amends.

Apparently The Kite Runner is Khaled Hosseini’s first novel, and the first Afghan novel written originally in English. It is an extraordinary accomplishment.

One thing that continued to strike me throughout the story was how I personally wanted to shake some sense into Amir to do the right thing. He is so humanly flawed, when we want him to step up to heroism. That he would even consider leaving Hassan’s son in the care of American aid workers, rather than taking full responsibility for him, is beyond me. But as I mentioned, the book is about redemption, and ultimately Amir recovers his soul and does the right thing. What remains to be seen is whether the boy can recover.

Highly recommended.

5 thoughts on “The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

  1. I have to second your recommendation. The book was amazing. I think I found it through SFGate.com review of how this book made it through book clubs before catching the eye of the NY Times Bestsellers list. I liked your point about Amir. However in some way we all can see little glimpses of ourselves in him. You know those moments when our own friends or family want to shake some sense into us. Also while I’m not so into sequels, I would love to see how the boy recovers as well.

  2. Excellent book. I fell in love with the book from the first page. I love the details and his description of things. I would love to know Hassan’s side of story. It would be great to know how he felt and how he lived compared to Amir.

    Kay

  3. I had to read this book for my English class and I am elated that my intstructor picked this book. It is amazing and is highly reccomended. Hosseini continues to suprise you through out the whole book.

  4. Unforgettable, heartbreaking story of a friendship. Is one of the few books I have read. I love it as I cried. It is very deep that you can not stop reading as well is full of details. I’m happy my teacher recommended. It is great history that in certain way touch one of us. I borrowed the book from the Library, but at this point, I will buy it. Lino

  5. Hi Dear i would like to ask you question if you may answer it for, why did Rahim Khan ask Amir there is to be good again and he didnt ask Baba his’friend to redeem himself