What’s it all about?:
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.
What did I think?:
I can’t believe I have only just got round to reading this fantastic novel. I’ve had it on my TBR pile for so long, and have actually read the authors two other books without having read his debut and arguably most famous work. The story involves two friends Amir, the boy from the rich side of the tracks and Hazara who lives in poverty with his father as Amir’s fathers servants. The boys are of a similar age and are brought up to play together although it is instantly obvious with whom the power lies in the friendship. Hazara worships the ground his friend Amir walks on and even though he is not given the same opportunities, would do anything his friend asked of him. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Amir, and he takes advantage of his elevated status on a few occasions. On the worst occasion (don’t worry, no spoilers here for those that haven’t read the novel), Hazara is involved in a terrible incident and Amir stands by and does nothing. This turns out to be a mistake that will haunt Amir for the rest of his days, even as he grows up and moves to America, forging a successful career for himself in writing. When an opportunity arises for Amir to redeem himself (although perhaps too late?), he seizes it, rescuing Hassan’s son from a terrible and unimaginable future with some familiar faces.
This book has absolutely everything I consider a great novel to be: drama, tension, heroes and villains and bags of emotion. This is set against a war-torn Afghanistan crumbling as the monarchy is abolished and hopeful for a new start as the Taliban regime is implemented. I love a book where I can have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and customs and everything feels so authentic, as if the reader is smack bang in the middle watching everything unfold around them. Some reviews have criticised the character of Amir as being selfish and spoiled, and yes, of course he is, but it is his efforts to try and right a wrong carried out years ago that redeem him in my eyes and give him that flawed, imperfect and “normal” feeling I love in a character. The father-son relationship between Amir and his Baba was also really intriguing which I enjoyed analysing as the story went on. This is truly a very emotional read, and at parts, I actually had to put down the book and take a few breaths before I continued and when finished, I was emotionally drained but strangely satisfied. There is obviously the horror of war in a way that a lucky Westerner like myself would find hard to understand but I felt almost grateful to the author for bringing it to my attention, reminding us that we are fortunate in so many ways. Beautiful and unforgettable, I think this novel will haunt me for a while and I fully intend to re-read it at some point. My only question is: why on earth did it take me so long to read it in the first place?!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):