Certain novels arrive on the booksellers list as a breath of fresh air. The kite runner written by Khaled Hosseini is one of these. His debut novel is the first book written by an Afghan, published in English, which shows the personal struggle of ordinary living in a terrible atmosphere which was first a rich country.
The kite runner gives the readers a realistic image of today’s fiction in the Middle East. However, the book contains many themes like life and love, brotherhood in the sense of not bonded by blood but by soul, the courage and the lack of that.
As the novel begins, we get to see Afghanistan in a relatively peaceful, in the 1970’s, short before the Russian invasion changed the landscape of the once beautiful Kabul.
The first character we get to know is Amir, the protagonist of the story. Amir is the son of a wealthy Sunni Pashtun businessman. His friend slash servant, Hassan belongs to the socially inferior group of the Shia Hazara’s. They both lived in a well-off neighborhood of Kabul.
Hassan is almost to decent to believe. I think what makes him real is the role of Hazara people as servants. This typical thing makes this novel so rich.
Even though, the Shia Hazara’s act as servants to their Pashtuns superiors, they are at the same time also part of the family.
Nevertheless, the clashing difficulties are a central theme, which caused the remaining tensions during the story. Like during a kite flying tournament, where they compete as a team, where an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship.
It is possible that the story of Afghanistan can influence an outsider’s attempt to understand the novel. So, it might have been better if they had erased these extra information. The info is not bad, but you can get more information if you just watch a CBS special on Afghanistan.
The kite runner was definitely one of the very few books that actually kept me gripped until the end of the story. It opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of what I life can be in Afghanistan during that period of time, like the scene when Amir and his father are being smuggled out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Scenes like that are convincing, sickening and last but not least terrifying to read. And that is what makes the novel so moving.
Khaled Hosseini has cleverly portrayed the familial relationships as well as the cruel segregation of society into classes.
So apart from sometimes giving too much background information of Afghanistan. I think it is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while. And Amir may be cowardly, but the novel it itself is full of courage.