Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Published: 2004
Pages: 391
Genre: Fiction
The Kite Runner is the powerful story of a young Afghan boy named Amir. The start of the story is set in the 1970s during the destruction of the Afghan monarchy. Amir lives in Kabul along with his father and their servants, Ali and his son Hassan. Being close in age, Hassan and Amir form a strong bond; almost like brothers. Their childhood was spent reading, playing cards, tormenting the neighbours, and building their friendship. During the yearly kite flying competition, everything changes. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll be vague. A devastating and disturbing event occurs that causes Amir and Hassan's everlasting friendship to crumble. Because of this, Hassan and Amir loose contact. Amir and his father flee the country to live in California, oblivious to the fate of Hassan and Ali. Years later, as an adult, Amir gets a phone call from and old friend reminding him that "there is a way to be good again". Consequently, Amir returns to his war-torn country to atone for his mistakes and try to be forgiven by the only true and loyal friend he ever had.
I adored this book. From the very first page to the last. It's hard to give reasons for this adoration without spoiling some of the important elements of the plot. It's also hard because you truly need to read this story yourself to understand the characters and their personalities. I will say, however, that this is the first book that has ever made me cry - and that's saying something big, because I do not cry easily! I think what really got me was how loyal and forgiving Hassan was. When Amir was frightened, he defended him without fear. When Amir made fun of him, he was too trusting to even notice. Honestly, these compassionate qualities in Hassan's character make my heart ache. Once again, you must read this novel to get the full impact!

Another aspect that really touched me was the author's obvious passion for his home country. The metaphors that he includes along with the rich and descriptive language make the story that much more alive, and the scenes are easily imagined in your mind. Here's a passage that I really loved:

Winter. Here is what I do on the first day of snowfall every year: I step our of the house early in the morning, still in my pajamas, hugging my arms against the chill. I find the driveway, my father's car, the walls, the trees, the rooftops, and the hills buried under a foot of snow. I smile. The sky is seamless and blue, the snow so white my eyes burn. I shovel a handful of the fresh snow into my mouth, listen to the muffled stillness broken only by the cawing of crows.

With all this in mind, I absolutely recommend this book. I was constantly feeling emotions of hate, sorrow, joy, frustration, and an endless list of others. I guarantee that you will be moved by this beautiful yet tragic tale of friendship and regret.

Final verdict: Must-read! Try to purchase this book - trust me, you'll want to own it.

1 comment:

Shoshana said...

This novel moved me. It's hard to believe that this is his first book. It packs a lot of emotion and the books takes you along with it. Engrossing.

Have you read his second novel?