Author: Khaled Hosseini
The setting of the beginning of story sets in Afghanistan during 1970 and 80’s. The novel portrays the Afghans as an independent and proud people who for decades have defended their country against one invader after another. But the narrator wonders if his people will ever transcend the tribalism that continues to threaten Afghanistan’s integrity. The narrator, Amir is growing up as part of an odd ménage with his liberal father, a family retainer called Ali, and the latter’s son, Hassan. Hassan is Amir’s playmate at home. In the novel, we can also know that Hassan loves Amir devotedly and often comes to his help. However, in the public, Amir is ashamed to admit that Hassan is his friend as he is not only a servant, but also from the despised Hazara minority. For the Pashtuns, it is not acceptable to be close or befriend with the Hazaras. Hence, this brought to the main incident later which twisted the whole story.
The most unforgettable scene and also my favourite scene in the story is the kite-running competition which gives the name for the title of the novel. Amir constantly struggles to earn his father’s love since he feels that he was the reason of his mother’s death which happened during child birth. Strangely, Hassan is everything that Amir’s father wanted in Amir. This led Amir to be sometimes envious of Hassan. He wants to his father proud of him. In the end Amir succeeds by winning the kite-flying competition.
However, in the same evening, Amir witnesses Hassan is persecuted and physically abused by one of Amir’s rivals, a half-German Pashtun but he did not provide any help or even report to anyone about the incident as he wants to gain full acceptance from his father. Their friendship sadly ended due to a childish error and cowardice on the part of Amir forcing Hassan and his father to leave Amir’s household.
Amir and his father later on move to America. Almost more than two decades later when Amir is married and successful as a novelist, he receives a call from an ailing Rahim Khan, his father’s close friend. He asks Amir to come to Afganishthan, he enigmatically tells Amir that “there is a way to be good again.” Still haunted by his betrayal and cowardice and not knowing of what had become of his best friend Hassan, he decides to go. Thus beginning the final leg of Amir’s journey, the journey of atonement and finding a lost friendship. The closing chapters where Amir tries to find Sohrab, the late Hassan’s son, provides a disturbing and gruesome representation of Afganisthan under the Taliban regime. The story ends with another kite-flying competition, where this time Amir runs for the kite of Sohrab to erase the guilt of his past.
The story is about friendship and love. Afghanistan, their people and culture are told through Amir’s narrative. The country that we know so less about. I really enjoy reading this as it is quite a page-turner and so heartwarming. The writer portrayed family relationships, as well as the cruel segregation of society into classes, also reveals a much harsher reality, a much horrifying state of things where war, rape, bloodshed,etc resonate viciously in the pages.