A story of a mistake (rather crime), a story of a betrayal, a story of shattering lives, a story of political chaos, a story of redemption, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini encompasses countless emotions. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan by the Soviet invasions, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan, life in the United States, and the atrocities of the Taliban regime. However, one should not mistake it for a political novel, rather the story is woven around the lives of two best friends - one a Hazara named Hassan, the other a Pashtun named Amir.
Amir is a young boy in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the 1970s. He lives with his Baba (father) and their servants, Ali and his son Hassan. Ali is one of Baba's oldest friends, but because he is Hazara, a race of Afghan descended from Moguls, he is considered lower class and must work as a servant. Hassan, being Ali's son, is, therefore, a Hazara too and thus, he doesn't go to the school with Amir but Hassan is the boy who always stood up for Amir and who could risk anything out of loyalty for him. This loyalty did not rise from the fact that he worked as a servant in their house or that his father did. Rather it arose from his love for his friend Amir, whom he considers his brother. Amir is no different and loves Hassan from the bottom of his heart but 'Will Amir, a school-going boy accept a Hazara as his friend in front of the society?' or more importantly, will Amir stand up for Hassan, when Hassan needs him the most?
The answer to the above question decides their future. Amir, who is the narrator of the novel says, 'I became what I am today at the age of 12, on a frigid overcast day in winter of 1975.' What happens that day leaves a deep scar in the conscience of Amir, which he hopes and tries to fix later in the story. An adult Amir opens the novel in the present-day United States, where he struggles to get out of his traumatic childhood and also to forge a closer relationship with his father. However, Amir views coming to America as an opportunity to leave his past behind.
The novel navigates through Amir's relationships with Hassan, Baba, Rahim Khan, Soraya, and Sohrab and how these complex relationships overlap and connect. The language used in the book is simple and wonderful, or rather it is wonderful in its simplicity. Wonderful because the simplicity is used to convey complex ideas and emotions. The book written in an autobiographical manner, have well-built characters and the descriptions are so life-like that it is very hard to not fall into Hosseini's narration thinking it really is a memoir.
The story is fast-paced with no dull moments. It will introduce you to Afghan life, which is strange, fascinating, and yet oddly familiar, all at the same time. Every chapter of the book may well become your favourite and may move you even when while re-reading it. Hosseini's writing is at par as it is as clear as a crystal and yet tells you things in a completely new and an enchanting way.
About the author- Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician. After graduating from college, he worked as a doctor in California. Following the success of The Kite Runner, he retired from medicine to write full-time. His other notable works are A Thousand Splendid Suns, And the Mountains Echoed