Thursday, July 29, 2010
Book REview: The Kite Runner
From The Book Shelf
Book: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 336 pages
An Afgan-American author Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel The Kite Runner released in 2003 is something to be curled upon. An amazingly powerful book speaking the stories of wounded part of the world, Afganistan. The horrifying realities of war, inhumanity in the caste system between Sunni and Shia’s Muslims and the chemistry between a loyal and disloyal friend makes it a perfect page turner. Precisely this book is about life, society, friendship, betrayal, guilt, love and Afganistan.
Kid Amir belonging to a culturally and luxuriously rich Pashtun business family has Hassan a lower caste Hazara boy as his taken for granted pal whose father is an age old servant at Amir’s bunglow.
The story starts with a phone call to a grown-up Amir from his late father’s old friend Rahim Khan. This call gives him a chance to revive his life of betrayal and guilt he has been carrying since childhood. A flashback is then followed with friendship between Amir and Hassan where Amir secretly envies him due to his father’s affection for Hassan while the latter loves him unconditionally and says ‘for you a thousand times over’ whenever his friend asks him something.
The powerful expressions in sentences could take the readers on a flight to Afganistan allowing them to visualise the happenings. The story takes a required U-turn with Amir’s betrayal that forcefully departs Hassan from his dear friend forever. Actually devoted Hassan was brutally beaten and raped by a group of Pashtun bullies when he was on his way with Amir’s last cut kite in the local kite-flying tournament. Where Hassan played unbreakably loyal, Amir didn’t turn up to rescue his friend inspite of being an eye-witness of the piteous incident. Novel’s name suggests Hassan’s skillful quality of knowing where the kite would fall, it was assumed that perhaps he follows the kite’s shadow and reaches the landing place before the kite.
Hosseini describes further story as if he was Amir, followed with the unwanted departure of Hassan and his father Ali, war in Kabul, refuge to Pakistan and then America, Amir falling in love with a beautiful girl Soraya and healing the scar of guilt by adopting Hassan’s orphaned son Sohrab. It was a perilous task for him to free Hassan’s son from violent Talibanis’ grip.
Though The Kite Runner runs around Amir’s life but leaves Hassan’s mark in reader’s mind through out. The author has perfectly utilised the characters in the story to strongly portray the Afgan history from the non-violent 70’s to ugly truth of Taliban taking over in 90’s.
The story twists many times in between surprising the reader as well as Amir. The beauty of writing lays in The Kite Runner which is definitely addictive and not a topsy-turvy.
The book is heartbreakingly moving right from the start. In the end reserved and unfriendly Sohrab only shows a smile to as he runs the kite for Sohrab, saying, "For you, a thousand times over."
The Denver Post, a daily in US says The Kite Runner "ranks among the best-written and provocative stories of the year so far." The book has also been conceptualised into a motion picture in Dari language with the subtitles in English.