This was much more than a coming-of-age tale. The plot unfolds following two young Afghan boys; one Pashtun, one Hazara, their friendship, their character and one boy’s betrayal. The story opens in pre-war Kabul and leads in to the Soviet invasion through flashbacks by one of the grown Afghans currently living in California.
The novel’s main character, Amir, questions his father’s love. His mother died giving birth to him and Amir wonders if his father blames him for the loss of his wife. Father and son are so unlike that they spend little time together and avoid each other’s company. Amir spends much of his time with Hassan, the son of the family’s servant, Ali. They enjoy kite running and spend much time together. Lacking fortitude, Amir looks to his friend to be his protector, which Hassan does with humility. A savage attack by a sociopathic young German boy begins a tragic rift which slowly unravels the friendship and will haunt one of the boys for decades.
The devoted Hassan has his friendship tested regularly by Amir yet never fails. He accepts his social placement beneath his friend but holds no resentments and proves his allegiance over and over. As a boy and later as a man, he proves to be more like Amir’s father than Amir himself. Friends like this are rare and their worth should be cherished and never taken for granted.
Amir’s father, Baba, is a larger than life character who seems to realize he and his son have nothing in common and accepts it as something he cannot control. His reputation among friends and neighbors is renowned; wrestling bears, building an orphanage, amassing wealth from little and showing courage in the face of adversity. A man who may be overbearing at times, but one to have on your side.
A man as fascinating as Mr. Hosseini would surely leave no room for pauses. I’d like to hear more about his immersion into America and how the family coped with those left behind. I’d also love to hear what or who inspired him to transition from medicine to writing.
My rating for The Kite Runner is an 8 out of 10.
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