Skip to content

The Kite Runner

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised 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, and apparently dissolved when Amir and his father flee to California to escape the Soviet invasion, leaving Hassan and his own gentle father to a terrible fate.

Years later, an old family friend calls what is Vilitra Amir from Pakistan and reminds him: “There is a way to be good again.” Amir now married and established in America, journies back to a now Taliban-enforced nation in chaos, amid violence and destruction — he attempts to make right a past wrong.

Khaled Hosseini is a physician living in San Francisco with his wife and family. He tells a vivid and engaging story about his home country which is the first published book about Afghanistan written from within America. The forward to the book is dedicated to “the children of Afghanistan.”

At a time when terrorism and civil rights abuses of the citizens are being imposed on his countrymen, and here in America the fear of religious fundamental reprisals are being felt, it is good to read a novel that shows the humanity on both sides.

The Kite Runner is first a story of a motherless boy struggling for identity in the shadow of his powerful and seemingly distant father — a man well loved and respected in their community, whom he yearns to feel love and acceptance.

It is secondly a story of religious, ethnic and political tensions that seek to destroy a country and its way of life.

And thirdly, it recalls the immigrant experience of people striving to adapt to their new surroundings while maintaining cherished traditions from home. No matter what your own country of origin, the story rings true.

Finally, it is a story of redemption — Amir’s haunting memories lead him back to set a wrong right. A superb novel, one that your book group should experience.

Imagery and Allegory

The metaphor of the children’s annual kite racing competitions take on a greater meaning.

Every winter, districts in Kabul held a kite-fighting tournament. And if youwere a boy living in Kabul, the day of the tournament was undeniably the highlight of the cold season. I never slept the night before the tournament. I’d roll from side to side, make shadow animals on the wall, even sit on the balcony in the dark, a blanket wrapped around me. I felt like a soldier trying to sleep in the trenches the night before a major battle. And that wasn’t so far off. In Kabul, fighting kites was a little like going to war. pg 52

In several instances, Amir witnesses the courage and depth of character in his father: when building of the orphanage; during the Kyhber Pass incident in the truck lorry when he defends the honor of the young man’s bride; at the acceptance of menial labor in America while maintaining his dignity and pride. But nothing compares to his battle with cancer to which even in this destiny, he faces with courage.

Finally the one act that Amir discovers can release him from his suffering and self-doubt is the very act of atoning for not only his own sins, but the sins of his father as well. As we come to discover his father has failed Amir in one fundamental and devastating way.

I was learning that BaBa had been a thief… He had sat me on his lap and said, “There is only one sin. And that is theft. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.” pg 237

In writing this novel Mr. Hosseini has apparently said he has one regret. That in creating an anti-character of pure evil, [Assef] he did not include a shred of decency or hope — and this he feels is never completely void. Perhaps his final message is that each of us contain both good and bad, and that in order for justice, decency, or hope to prevail in us individually or as nations — we must have courage, faith and understanding.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.