Review: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Told from the eyes of Amir, who is 12 at the start and a man in his 30s by the end, “The Kite Runner” is an infuriating yet moving novel about secrets and sacrifice.
Kite running is a part of a kite flying competition, every year in kids in Afghanistan fly kites competitively and try to cut the lines of competitors’ kites.
“Running kites” is the term used when someone runs after a fallen kite, a trophy of their success. It’s during this annual competition that Amir witnesses a crime committed against his best friend Hassan, and does nothing.
After this point, we see Amir’s life relationships degrade and Amir resort to petty actions to rid himself of contact with his now former friend.
When Amir is in his late teens, he and his father immigrate to America.
In America, Amir feels he can forget his past, pretend his mistakes don’t exist and start fresh. To an extent, Amir does put his past behind him.
Amir writes novels, gets married and continues to bury the guilt he has had as the back to his mind for what has turned into almost two decades, until he receives a letter from an old family friend, telling him how he “can be good again.”
This letter talks of how Hassan always kept Amir in his thoughts, how loyal he was to Amir and his father, even after the events of the earlier chapters, of Hassan’s own family and of his brutal death at the hands of the Taliban.
But that’s not all, Hassan’s son is somewhere, in war-torn Afghanistan, and this family friend has asked Amir to find the boy and bring him to America.
Amir sets out to finish this quest, not realizing the task he has set himself upon will require more than just atonement for a buried secret, but immersing himself in a country he has re-familiarize himself with.
While Amir had been in America, the Taliban took over and spread oppression.
Searching for Hassan’s son, navigating the shell of his home city, suffering the new dynamics of poverty and the agents of oppression, Amir finally finds the boy.
“The Kite Runner” doesn’t end with the successful quest.
You keep reading, and the novel gets darker and darker until you think more people are going to die, but that doesn’t happen either. The ending is neither happy nor downright sad, but looks towards a point of light in the near future.