Book Review: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Penguin Berkeley Publishing Group Riverhead Books
Number of Pages: 371
My Rating: 3
Summary from GoodReads.com:
Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashums. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
This book left me exhausted. It was everything I wanted it to be and yet nothing like I imagined. No review can quite prepare you for the book that is The Kite Runner.
I am going to give my best attempt at writing an adequate review for this one, but I am going to start off by saying that it wasn’t a happy book- at all. Most of the time I was reading I felt confused, sad, mortified, shocked, depressed… you get it. I have had this book on my TBR list for a long time as I knew that it was a book club favorite and everyone had rave reviews about how GREAT it was. Well, I don’t disagree, but I can’t really agree with that either.
The Kite Runner is the story about two boys who grow up together in pre-war Afghanistan, beginning in the 1970s. Amir, the main character, is the wealthy son of a successful businessman while his friend, Hassan, is Amir’s servant. The boys grow up together and are the best of companions, namely because of Hassan’s undying love and loyalty for Amir which is only sometimes returned. The two of them have all kinds of adventures and fond memories, especially running kites.
Flying, fighting, and running kites is a huge tradition in Afghanistan and the boys look forward to it every winter. They spend weeks preparing their kite and practicing, anxiously awaiting the day they can participate and win. Amir is particularly nervous about the tournament as he is trying to finally win his father’s affection and love. He knows he will be a winner in his father’s eyes if he is the last kite standing and if he can retrieve the final defeated kite as it falls to the ground. Luckily for him, his loyal friend is the best kite runner in town and promises Amir he will bring it back for him. What happens next will change their lives forever.
Amir is forever haunted by Hassan and the events that happened between them all those years ago. He eventually returns to this land of lost innocence and increasing violence to try to right wrongs and deal with demons he has been fighting for his entire life. He finds that the country he once knew and loved is completely destroyed and strict laws are now enforced by the Taliban. Can he right what he did? Is there still a way to be good?
I felt like Khaled Hosseini did a good job describing a country in a time long ago that is hard for anyone to imagine. The writing was rich in detail and definitely made you feel a lot of emotions you might not have wanted. He gave us a tale that is haunting and unforgettable. While I am happy I read this book, I can say I will never want to read it again and I’m not sure how much I want to remember. Read at your own risk, just be prepared for this heartbreaking story of a boy and his kite runner.