The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was published in 2003 and has had glowing reviews since. It has taken me almost 7 years, since i first heard about it, to finally get round to reading it. i’m glad i did.
i’ll try not to give the whole plot away (my brother has said before that i’m terrible at this).
First of all, this book surprised me. From the back of cover description, i was expecting a fair amount of talk about the wars in Afghanistan. But there was not a whole lot of talk about the wars. Yes the wars were used as a catalysis for the actions taken by the characters in the story.
However, it is essentially about the journey of a boy into manhood and how a single incident shattered his life as he knew it and shaped most of the rest of his life, how he regrets what happened but felt that he had could do nothing to make it better. It is also about relationships; the relationship between a father and his son, the relationship between best friends, the relationship between fear and action, guilt and atonement.
The story pulls us into the life of Amir, literally by a kite string as it starts out as a fairly inconsequential account of a boy’s life; a boy born into what we might call a ‘silver-spoon-in-mouth’ situation, a boy who tried hard to be the son his father wants him to be, a boy who carried a dark secret with him till he could find redemption years later. Many points in my reading i wanted to take Amir and shake him. Then i remember he is but a boy and he reacted as a boy would.
Amir’s father too, carried secrets, as did his loyal housekeeper and his long-time friend. But they all hid their secrets for different reasons; fear of social shame, fear of rejection. They also hid the truth out of love for the people they cared about. i’m still not sure that hiding the truth to so-call “save” a loved one pain is really the right or good thing to do. This is the thing to do where i come from so i completely understand the thought process behind this reasoning but i’m not certain i agree with it. (but that’s a whole other post.)
When the truth comes out, finally, the path to redemption slowly unwinds. The end brings closure for almost all the characters. It is not a complete ‘Hollywood’ ending but it ended on a hopeful note and that i feel is important, because the secret Amir carried and the result of it was so terrible that hope needed to be found in the end, how else can we humans still live on except by finding and walking towards that little dot of light at the end of a long long tunnel.
If you have read this book, i would love to hear what you think of it. If not, do you think this is a book you would pick up?