Fiction,  Historical Fiction,  Review

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Publication Date : May 13th 2013 (first published May 29th 2003)
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Read Date : January 12th 2019 
Genre : Fiction / Historical Fiction
Pages : 344
Stars : 5/5

The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini’s deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land.

Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir’s closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with “a face like a Chinese doll” was the son of Amir’s father’s servant and a member of Afghanistan’s despised Hazara minority.

But in 1975, on the day of Kabul’s annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

The Kite Runner was the story of Amir and Hassan, their childhood, life and complicated relationship; societal issue, selfishness, betrayal; casualty of regime change, insurgency; and kite fighting tournament that changed both boys’ life.

Tw- sexual abuse of minors, selling kids and derogatory behavior towards women and Hazaras.

Hassan was illiterate hazara, a servant’s son but was most modest, clever, so content and happy with himself and whatever Amir and his father provided. He was most brave kid in the book who accepted everything thrown towards him and stood up to defend Amir without thinking of the consequences. But on that dreadful day I really wished he didn’t stand up to defend Amir. Even after what he suffered and faced his heart was so pure that didn’t harbor ill feeling for Amir and I loved him for that. My heart ached whenever I saw him hurt and suffering and even after all he lived fullest leaving past behind.

Amir was rich boy who wanted all attention, respect, and love of his baba. In doing so he lost something precious, a friendship of Hassan, his peace and conscience. I really hated him from running away when Hassan needed him most. It broke my heart and I almost cried for what happened to Hassan. Like him I had that thought throughout the novel, if he reacted on that day, stood up for Hassan and himself the things might have turned out differently. There were many flaws in this character but at the end he learned his lesson and earned his redemption and for that I like him.

Amir’s fatherwas remarkable character but there was a surprising twist in his characterization as well. Ultimately there was a flaw in this idealistic brave man as well but I also admired him for the way he tried to share equal love and kept his corner of heart reserved for his son.

Other secondary characters of the book, Ali, Soraya, Rahim Khan, Farid were great to read. Antagonist of the book was horrendous. Who will you consider the real antagonist, was thought-provoking question.

Book was set in Kabul, Afghanistan. The setting was vivid and bringing the real Afghan and its people alive. The juxtaposed picture of Afghan before and after Russian coup and Taliban insurgency was shocking to read.

The story was first person narrative from Amir’s perspective. It started with a phone call from Rahim Khan that reignited the past forcing Amir back to his life in Kabul until the winter of 1975. Reading Hassan’s description, Hassan’s father Ali and his unfortunate life with his wife, Amir’s beautiful house and Hassan and Amir’s birth story in the beginning, hooked me to writing of author. I knew I’m going to like this book in that first chapter only.

In very early in the book we read about Shia- Sunni differences and conflicts. How religious and societal issue kept Hassan and Amir’s friendship tainted and even Ali and Amir’s father- A relationship with strong brotherly bond still they never called named it friendship.

A question that was raised by narrator in first chapter kept me reading the book to get its answer- What happened on the winter of 1975? And why would he seek atonement? As I dived deep in the book more questions sparked that hooked me to the book till the end- what happened to Hassan after winter of 1975? How and where he lived? Why Amir and his father left Kabul and how they reached American? Why Amir returned to Kabul? Will he find his peace at last?

The book gave answers to all questions. Life of Amir and his father in America was depicted with realistic touch. An immigrant and asylum seeker can relate to their life. The effect of Taliban insurgency on people of Afghan as well as characters’ life was tragic and unfair. It was poignant to see poverty, hunger and homeless on the street of the country.

It shattered my heart reading what happened to Hasan on the winter of 1975. It broke something in me on reading what Rahim Khan delivered to Amir in Pakistan but on reading what happened to Hassan’s son and how he was treated made me cry. And chapters after climax were soul shattering. I almost wished to enter in the novel and do sometimes to make Hassan’s son feel better.

Relationship between Hassan and Amir, Amit and his father, Amir and Rahim Khan, Hassan and Ali, Amir and Hassan’s son was perfectly portrayed. Each relationship had something good to teach. Each will hold you to the pages of the book and ponder about it until you feel it in the heart.

End of the book was bittersweet. I wish it had turned out all right, but such shattering story takes longer than 344 pages to be completely all right. The afterward of the book just great.

This was utterly intense, poignant, soul-stirring and thought-provoking very original fiction that I highly recommend to fiction and classic lovers.

Author: Khaled Hosseini 

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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