The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini | Book Review

Book: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Published: Bloomsbury

page: 324

In this appearance, the first Afghan novel written in English, two motherless boys who learned to crawl and walk side by side are destined to destroy each other across their tribal differences in a country of dried mulberries, sour oranges, rich pomegranates and honey. 

It is Shakespearean beginning to an epic tale that spans lives lived across two continents amid political upheavals, however, dreams wither before they bud and whereas a search for a child finally makes a coward, not a man. The kite runner is the shattering first novel by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan doctor who received political asylum in 1980 as civil conflict devastated his homeland.  Whatever the truth of the claim to be the first English language Afgan novel, Hosseini is certainly the first Afgan novelis to fictionalize his culture for a western readership melding the personal struggle of ordinary people in the terrible historical sweep of a devastated country in search and soul-searching narrative.

over the last three decades, Afghanistan has been ceaselessly battered by Communist rule, Soviet occupation, the Mujahidin and democracy that became a terror. It is a history that can intimidate and exhaust an outsider’s attempts to understand, but it simply and quietly turns into an intimate account of love, honour, guilt, fever and redemption that needs no dry history book or atlas to grip and absorb.

Amir is a privileged member of the dominant Pashtun tribe growing up in affluent Kabul in the seventies. Hassan Is his devoted servant and a member of the oppressed Hazare tribe whose first word was the name of his boy master. The book focused on the friendship between the two children and the cruel and shameful sacrifice the rich boy made to his humble, adoring late ego to buy the love of his own distant father. “I ran because I was a coward, “Amir realizes as he bolts from the scene that severs his friendship with Hassan, shatters his childhood and haunts him for the rest of his life, “ I actually aspired to cowardice.”

The book starts with  Amir’s attempts to flee culpability for his act of betrayal, seeking asylum from his hellish homeland in California and a new life buried deep in black velvet portraits. of Elvis. Amir’s story is simultaneously devastating and inspiring. His world is a patchwork of the beautiful and horrific and the book is a  sharp unforgettable taste of the trauma and tumult experienced by Afghans as their country buckled.