The Kite Runner Print E-mail
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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is one of the most powerful books that I have ever read. Just cannot pin-point how exactly but it did have a deep impact on me. I have cried buckets reading this book.  And fondly remember how cosy I felt when I was reading it for the first time. The overall theme of ‘what friendship is all about’ rang a bell with me.

It is a profoundly emotional tale of friendship, family, devastating mistakes and redeeming love. The story follows a young boy, Amir, as he faces the challenges that confront him on the path to manhood—testing friendships, finding love, cheating death, accepting faults, and gaining understanding.

Living in Afghanistan in the 1960s, Amir enjoyed a life of privilege that is shaped by his brotherly friendship with Hassan, his servant's son, for most of the first twelve years. As young boys becoming adolescents, Amir and Hassan enjoyed doing everything together. However, Amir knew that neither history nor religion changed who they were. In the end, Amir was a Pashtun and Hassan was a Hazara. But, they were kids; they fed from the same breast and they learned to crawl together. Nothing was going to change that either. They used to play hide-and-seek, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, took strolls together through the parks and saw many movies together. One of the most memorable times that Amir and Hassan shared together was underneath their pomegranate tree on top of a hill where Amir read many stories to Hassan.

Kite flying was a major event that took place every year in Kabul. The object of the game was to be the last kite flying in the air. After all the other kites were cut down, a person chased the kite to redeem their pride and glory. Hassan was a successful "kite runner" for Amir, knowing where the kite will land without even watching it.

"Every winter, districts in Kabul held a kite-fighting tournament. If you were a boy living in Kabul, the day of the tournament was undeniably the highlight of the cold season. I never slept the night before the tournament. I'd roll from side to side, make shadow animals on the wall, even sit on the balcony in the dark, a blanket wrapped around me. I felt like a soldier trying to sleep in the trenches the night before a major battle. And that wasn't so far off. In Kabul, fighting kites was a little like going to war" (excerpt from the book)

On one such glorious afternoon in Kabul, the skies were bursting with the exhilarating joy of a kite-fighting tournament and Amir triumphantly wins it. Hassan goes to run the last cut kite, a great trophy for Amir, saying, “For you, a thousand times over.” But in the aftermath of the day’s victory, a tragedy occurs with Hassan in a back alley on the very streets where the boys once played. This moment marks a turning point in their life. Amir could have saved Hassan but he was a coward and he decided to run.  He betrayed the one person who stood up for him; the one person who was willing to do anything to be loyal. Their friendship was torn apart forever.

Now, after 20 years of living in America, in his quest for redemption, Amir returns to a perilous Afghanistan under the Taliban’s iron-fisted rule to face the secrets that still haunt him and take one last daring chance to set things right. In Hosseini’s words, “There is a way to be good again.”
Amir needed to repay Hassan back for all the good that he has done for him, in as many ways as possible. He needed to seek forgiveness and absolve himself of the heavy guilt he carried way into his adult life. To quote from the book:-

“… I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering it things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
Apart from the emotional aspect of the story, the book also presents a glimpse of socio-political climate in Afghanistan and the Afghan community in the US. The book can be read as a three-part novel. In the first part, Hosseini engages in nostalgic childhood recreation of a lost Afghanistan during the last days of the monarchy of Zahir Shah and the regime that overthrew him. The second part explores emigration during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the tragedies of a displaced and tired people as well as the process of migration. The last part explores the Taliban's Afghanistan. It deals with the horror humans can inflict on other humans and stresses the underlying tone of standing up to repression.
One hell of a good read. Highly recommended. Not only is it thoroughly entertaining but also provides the much needed food for the soul. Hope I have managed to tempt you enough to get hold of this book from wherever.

Happy Reading. :)


Author of Review: Arundhati Das Gupta
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Comments 

 
0 #4 Rajeshwari DasGupta 2009-12-06 11:38
very well written review!though i've read the book and seen the movie already...still after reading the review feel like reading it yet again...maybe i've missed some aspects of it which u have mentioned here...sucha book can be read over n over again...once is just not enough to grasp the whole of it!
 
 
0 #3 2009-12-03 16:23
Thank you both :) I am glad that you guys liked it. Renu I loved the movie too since I was learning Persian at that time and could get some of their dialogues without reading the subtitles ;). And liked the movie's background score too. But yeah, nothing beats the book. Anando, You gotta read it man!!..See I wrote for you, now you read for me
 
 
0 #2 Renu 2009-11-29 13:20
I have read this book and like Arundhati I too can vouch for it . Its an excellent read. Have seen the movie too but like always , to me, the book is more interesting.

Welcome to our world Miss Arundhati :)We have a new addition to our pack of writers
 
 
0 #1 Anando 2009-11-27 16:34
Well written yaar it makes me feel like reading it . After a well written article like this beware that I shall be expecting many more.
 

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