The Kite Runner
The Kite runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Year of publication: 2003
There are some stories which shatter you, recalling them devastates you and once you absorb them, they inspire you. “The kite runner” is one such melodious and melancholic song-like-story which forces your heart to strike the electrifying beats which warm your soul.
Published in 2003, The Kite Runner, the debut of an Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini, was an instant bestseller and continues making it into top favourites of many readers worldwide. This is a book which needs no introduction yet it’s nothing like one would expect it to be.
Plot and observations:
It’s a tale of two friends, Amir, the kite champion and Hassan, the champion kite runner belonging to an ethnic minority group. While the country, Afghanistan, is on the way of destruction at the hands of the cruel, the lives of the characters are controlled by their own demons, the bad ones and the good ones. A tragic incident on the Kite tournament alters the lives of young Hassan and Amir and parts them forever. This is a story of friendship which knew no limits, the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption.
As much as this is the story of Amir and Hassan, it is also the story of Baba, Amir’s father, Ali, Hassan’s father, Rahim Khan, Baba’s friend and Sohrab. Also, Afghanistan itself is a main character in the heartwarming story.
The arcs of the story- extending into America, via Pakistan, the development of characters, the revelation of the story, the subplots and the themes are so crafted, present and deliberate that it’s impossible to not be connected to the story like it’s your own. As much as it’s your own story, it’s also the story you want to escape from. Though Amir narrates the story, you sometimes feel that it is being narrated by the author himself and Amir is but a shadow. The deliberate use of native words brings out the essence of the country where the plot is set and make the story more captivating.
The tale narrated across 324 pages covers many themes. Past and redemption are the main themes. All the main characters have secrets from their past that haunt them. The feeling of guilt determines the actions of the characters, which later set the stage for redemption. The political events play a crucial role as they directly affect the lives of the characters. Hope is another theme that emerges as the story reaches its climax.
The rich symbolism is something that makes the book extraordinary and unforgettable. Hassan’s cleft lip, the crushed pomegranate, the slingshots and, of course, kite represents the characters’ conflicting inner selves.
The story, at some points, is draining, frustrating and almost excruciating. But it is also very hopeful, moving and heartwarming. This book is one such book which breaks you from within to build a better self, almost like losing many battles but winning the war.
According to me, the best part about the book is the characters being more than just characters. Hassan, clearly, is the symbol of innocence and Sohrab symbolizes hope. But Amir seems to symbolize Afghanistan! His internal turmoil makes him do things he knew he would later regret. Many readers might despise him while sympathizing with him. Amir’s early childhood, being born in a rich household and being so immersed in the culture gives the impression of pre-war Afghanistan, rich and stable. The later change of events leaving him with an identity crisis in the US reflect Afghanistan being exploited by the Soviet Union followed by the Taliban.
I hope Afghanistan gets an opportunity to redeem itself, just like Amir.
A popular line from the book “For you, a thousand times over” is what you’d say if you consider rereading and prepare yourself for the emotional rollercoaster.
For more follow on :