Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khalid Hosseini
Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆
“If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab, and me ends with happiness, I wouldn’t know what to say. Does anybody’s? After all, life is not a Hindi movie. Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end, kamyab, nah-kam, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of kochis.” – Khalid Hosseini
The Kite Runner, set in the politically unstable backdrop of Afghanistan, is a journey of redemption which makes us introspect ourselves and reevaluates the values of life. We have skewed perception towards Afghanistan as a torn, poverty-stricken and wounded country, owing to the stereotypical representation generated by popular media. However, Hosseini’s remarkable narration acquaints us with a pre-Soviet Afghanistan, before the overthrow of the monarchy putting Afghanistan in a whole new light altogether. He has portrayed the Islamic culture, the moral depravities of the society, the timeless motif of a father-son relationship and the sweet taste of personal absolution by taking the guise of Amir, representing the riches and socially legitimate son and Hassan, his half-brother, and a Hazara.
The novel undertakes the bildungsroman of Amir, from being coward and insecure to being someone who faced his fear, took responsibility of his doings and corrected his mistakes searching for a way to be good again. The story is centered around Amir and his servant, Hassan belonging to the different strata of the society. The scrutiny of the societal differences victimized the innocence of their friendship as for Amir, Hassan was no more than his servant. Amir had been consumed with the idea of reconciliation with his father and envied his father’s fascination of Hassan. This quench of appreciation of his father made him sacrifice Hassan to a bunch of bullies for the blue kite remarking his win in the kite flying tournament. The sufferings of Amir doubled with the overthrow of the monarchy and the Russian war resulting in their escape to America. After his father’s demise, he decided to go back to Pakistan to Rahim Khan who unveiled the biggest secret of his life that Hassan was his half-brother. Rahim Khan told him that Hassan and his wife were dead for quite some time and they had a son named Sohrab living in an orphanage. With Rahim Khan’s request to bring back Sohrab from Kabul, Amir rediscovers his purpose of life as he sets on a journey of redemption. By that time, the Afghanistan he knew was nowhere to be found and was taken over by the Taliban. The ruthless killings in the name of God was a usual sight in Afghanistan. The twist of events made him face Assef one of the bullies in that alley, only now he had Sohrab to save.