Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Summary from Author website: Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.
My Disclaimer: I love adding disclaimers because sometimes I just have things that I need to explain, that aren’t necessarily pertinent to the book review. In this case, I must say I watched the film version first, and then read the novel with the hopes that the book might shed some additional light or thoughts behind Amir’s actions. I was pleasantly surprised, the film almost mirrored the book with the exception for a few scenes (not really substantial, plot wise), and so this I say to anyone who might feel they do not have the time for this story. May I at least encourage you to watch the film version? It is available on Netflix streaming, and truly this story, film or book, is absolutely beautiful.
My Review: I love this book for so many reasons, but simply put, because it is an intelligent and truthful story about one man’s journey, from the time of his affluent living in Afghanistan, to his later upbringing in America. Not only did I follow his trials and tribulations, but I experienced the Afghan culture through both Amir, and my beloved favorite character, Hassan. To say I was not moved to tears, is an understatement. I was heartbroken at times, because I knew some of these racially motivated and complex issues that exist in the Arab world, are not just fictional words in a novel, and I only wish there was peace for these people, for their culture is so stunningly flavorful and exquisite. Yet, it is masked behind groups of extremists, who not only shun Western influences, but their own as well. There is no freedom with these people, and this you come to learn as we see what life was like pre-Taliban, and at the ending of the novel, Taliban occupied.
But deconstructed, lies a tragic tale of two young boys, torn apart of by political unrest. One is able to flee Afghanistan, and live out his life in America with his father, the other remains, his fate unknown.
Amir and Hassan are like two peas in a pod, inseparable. Hassan is the son of Amir’s house servant, yet, the two play together as if they are brothers. For Hassan, he would lay his life down for Amir. For Amir, he questions whether he would do the same, and at one point in his young life, tested. It is this look at one’s soul, that haunts Amir for a good part of his adult life, as he receives a phone call from one of his father’s friends. In the end, he must return to Afghanistan, and in doing so, return to the demons he left behind.
Not only did I love the characters in this book; Adult Amir, Hassan, Amir’s father... I treasured the descriptive writing of Khaled Hosseini.
Can I just say, I could write about this book, “A thousand times over”.... Since I don’t have kites, I will give it five stars. It is a ‘must' read!