A Novel by Khaled Hosseini – Book review by sirpeterjamesdotcom.
Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician. After graduating from college, he worked as a doctor in California.
The Kite Runner became a bestseller after being printed in paperback and was popularized in book clubs. It was a number one New York Times bestseller for two years, with over seven million copies sold in the United States.
A number of adaptations were created following publication, including a film under the same name. (Information gathered from Wikipedia/The Kite Runner)
Comment goes, that the story is fictional and yet as I read, felt that I was ensconced in a true-life drama. This might be because the Author draws on his own experience of Afghani, culture, ethnicity and life style.
For a person who has done a reasonable amount of globetrotting and met many people in different walks of life, I was left wondering about Afghanistan, after I finished
the book; how it was that I knew so little about that country and especially its political woes.
During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, following the collapse of the Afghani monarchy and the frequent mention of the name ‘Kabul’ by the media, this book gave rise to an interest in me, which did not exist at the time the war was in progress and the aftermath of political havoc that appeared to take place in that country; especially after Russia’s withdrawal of her troops and the up surging of the Taliban movement.
Although fictional, the book left me wondering about any measure of truth in some or all of the parts surrounding the story.
This an easy read, that is gripping at the same time. For me, the reading took a matter of a few hours all told.
There are four characters on the main stage.
There is Amir, son of a very wealthy, successful and very tough Father. The book takes you through his life from a tender, happy and adventurous ten-year-old in Afghanistan, to a forty something refugee in America.
There is Hassan, his devoted friend, son of a servant to Amir’s household. The story tells of Hassan’s total commitment in his friendship with Amir. The result of this friendship leads Hassan to a horrific life changing experience, which Amir witnesses, but does not have the courage to go to his friend’s aid.
Amir’s cowardice becomes a never ending nightmare that haunts him every day. His childlike innocence and joy, lost forever.
In happier times the boys enjoy a relationship in typical boyish play, of which kite fighting is a large part. Amir flies the kite, Hassan is the (expert) runner, always knowing just where to find the kite, after it has fallen, with its severed line, to the earth.
Then there is the widowed father of Amir, Baba, whom, whilst he clearly loves his son, is very hard on him, in every way.
Finally there is Rahim Khan, a close friend of Baba’s. Rahim is not only a friend of Baba’s, but a mentor of Amir and who is responsible for encouraging him to continue with his writing, which in later years, becomes the source of Amir’s financial success in his adopted land of America.
But the news that Ramir sends to Amir in his later years dulls the gain of his success and fills him with new fear as Ramir tells Amir to come to Pakistan on an important mission; which, unbeknownst to Amir, entails a trip back to Kabul!
With the entry of the Taliban onto the stage of their lives Baba loses all his possessions and wealth. Even their palatial home is ultimately commandeered by the Taliban. They flee the country and by miraculous means, gain entry to America.
Later, Amir learns some shocking truths about his and Hassan’s origins. He also learns about the terror of Hassan’s last moments, at the hands of the Taliban.
All the while, he lives in a prison of his treachery, played out on his friend and not knowing how to escape from its terrible grip. No way of being able to buy back his inaction at the time when Hassan, his best friend, needed him most.
Irony strikes its fist in the form of a ‘deal’ that the wiley, but compassionate Ramir offers him, suggesting that this would assuage his conscience and make right the awful wrong he perpetrated on his long deceased friend.
The plot has some amazing and unexpected twists and the outcome will have you on a high of excitement and tension, after which, you will say, “That was a good read”.
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