Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner is the story of Amir and Hassan and the unique relationship they share. Initially it is a deep friendship born out of being fed by the same mother as babies and eventually turns into brotherhood.

The book is a beautiful and poignant story set in the Afghanistan of fifty years ago, starting from before the Russians invaded Afghanistan up to modern day Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan's story is reminiscent of ancient mythological stories of everlasting friendship. But one day of cowardice on Amir's part changes his life and one sin leads to another and then another.

It is easy to relate with Amir in some sense, when he tries to push away the bad memories by retreating within him and evading all painful reminders. On the one side is his conscience and on the other is his longing for his father’s attention and affections. Amir is all that his father does not want in a son, while Hassan is everything he wants in his son. When Amir and his father escape to America the father-son equations seem to change for the better. America, always playing the symbol of freedom and optimism, heralding the triumph of immigrants of struggling against hardships, in so many books by Asian authors, seems to bury the old wounds
below the surface for Amir. Until one phone call brings back the memories, the feelings of remorse but also the hope to make amends.

Hosseini writes beautifully, bringing a character to the stark Afghan countryside and its culture. He portrays Amir’s characters and deepest fears candidly, so that even though you know Amir is doing wrong, you cannot help but empathize with him at times. A father’s agony over burdens he carries in his heart, Amir’s conscience that drives him to insomnia, Hassan’s innocence and willingness to forgive – everything is written about with insight and empathy. When I began the book, a friend told me I would cry when I finished it. A page turner that it was, I kept hoping Amir would achieve retribution. So did I cry in the end? I’m not telling. I will just say that I’d recommend this book to anyone for a touching and enjoyable read and to appreciate the coming of age of Asian writing.
Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini