Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini

I really had no expectations of this book as I hadn't taken the time to learn what it was about.  I knew it was a best seller and it's been on my 'to-read' for about four years now.  I did purchase the movie not too long ago and sat down to watch it with my mother-in-law who was living with us at the time.  She had suffered a stroke and was unable to read the subtitles so we turned it off very early in.

That's what I knew about the story before I started.

Basically nothing.

I was drawn into the story almost immediately upon starting the book.  I tried to analyze why I was.  The story was about Amir, a privileged little boy in Afghanistan who was very insecure about his father's love.  His best friend was the uneducated son of his father's servant. As he was raised playing with Hassan, the servant's son, his father was also raised playing with Ali, his now faithful servant. Although Hassan is a servant himself, he adores Amir and would do anything for him. Indeed, Amir's cowardice presents many opportunities for Hassan to prove his loyalty.  Even so, Amir's insecurities cause him to bully Hassan almost mercilessly.

I asked myself again, what is so riveting about this tale that calls me back to the book each time I set it down?  Obviously, it's the author's voice and how well he tells the story before he even reveals the very meat of it. 

The story starts prior to the time of Russia invading Afghanistan and spans to the early 2000s. Sadly,  I'm not a student of history and therefore wasn't very well informed regarding all the changes of the Russians being thrown out by the Taliban and the quick end of the Afghanistan jubilation as they realized the Taliban was as bad or worse than the Russians. Amir and his father are smuggled out of Afghanistan after the Russians arrive and eventually migrate to America.  Their lives are very different in America, no longer of the privileged class, but his father was a well known man in Afghanistan and still very respected in his new American/Afghanistan community.

Early in the 2000s Amir returns to Afghanistan and finds a world very different from the one he left 25 years earlier.  No spoilers, but he at once finds himself face to face with the past he has tried hard to forget and finally must make amends with.

The Kite Runner is an amazing story full of unexpected twists and turns.  Heroes die and villains live, but there is always a feeling of hope.

I give The Kite Runner 5 of 5 shots.

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