This novel is a depiction of friendship, betrayal, agony and sacrifices. This story is set in Afghanistan and shows the unlikely friendship between Amir, son of a wealthy businessman who is also a Pashtun and Hassan, son of Amir’s family servant. In a kite running competition, Hassan plays the kite runner for Amir and they end up winning the tournament. This leads to jealousy in Assef, a sociopath and bully, who is ever critical of Amir playing with a Hazara, who he feels are in the lowermost rung of the society. Assef ends up taking revenge from Hassan and brutally rapes him. Despite seeing it, Amir chooses to stay mum about it and ends up with an immense sense of guilt. This incident changes the life of characters involved and unfolds into an emotional and gripping saga.
This story is set up against a backdrop of disturbing events such as the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy due to the Soviet invasion which had immense impact on the life of the characters in this novel. Further reference to mass exodus of refugees to United States and Pakistan can be noted. Most importantly, this novel depicts the rise and strength of the Taliban regime and the terror it created in the minds and lives of people. This story implicitly depicts racism and discrimination to the core. Bias against Hazaras and so-called superiority of the Pashtuns is highlighted. The depiction of torture, abuse and pain suffered by Hazaras makes you cringe.
Khaled Hosseini has a simple and beautiful way of writing, with absence of complexities. Yet it is gripping enough to make you burn the midnight oil till you finish it. His writing style rouses emotions - it makes you feel the same way as the characters are feeling. The novel is written in a realistic manner. In fact, it is shocking at times.
I feel this is one of the best novels that I have read. Realistic gripping and soul-rendering, this tale of friendship and sacrifices appealed to me. Instead of showing characters in shades of black and white, shades of grey can be seen in characters like Amir, which makes it real. The sacrifice that Amir made for his friend makes you-feel do such relationships exist in today’s materialistic world? The rape of Hassan and ill treatment of his child makes you feel the deterioration in today’s value system. And yet the touching ending of this beautiful novel revives hope and joy in dismal conditions.
Book Reviewed By Sujata Chandra
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