As part of the Ultimate Reading Challenge I was required to read a tear-jerker in February. Here’s my review of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
I’d been meaning to read this book for quite a while and putting it off because I didn’t have time or I had other books I wanted to read more. This was a mistake. Not only is Hosseini an excellent author with an authentic and original voice, the story is engaging, endearing and heart-wrenching.
“There is a way to be good again,”
What I liked best about this story is that Amir – the main character (whose point of view it is told from) – is not a hero, not a winner. He’s an ordinary (if somewhat spiteful and jealous) child who grows into an ordinary man; capable of making terrible errors in judgement as well as performing great bravery and sacrifice. More than this, he is not deluded about his actions, nor does he try to excuse them.
When spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time…
There were parts of the book that I found difficult to read because they covered sensitive topics but I felt that these were handled respectfully and with care that managed to make the point without labouring it. Moreover, I found the ending to be realistic and believable: it didn’t sugarcoat the lasting effects of the situations that the characters endured, it simply offered a hope that those effects may not be insurmountable.
I feel that The Kite Runner has allowed me a basic insight into the culture and history of Afghanistan that I did not previously possess and opened my eyes to some of the difficulties that those who lived there might have been subject to. It made me realise that I don’t know anything about a lot of other countries and cultures and that I would like to discover more.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking to read something powerful and different.
Has anyone seen the film adaptation of The Kite Runner (2007)? I’m wondering whether I should go find it and give it a watch.
Do you have any recommendations for books that are unusual?