The novel tells the story of Amir who befriends Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. While growing up, they become as close as brothers and while Amir looks up to his father, Hassan looks up to Amir. During a local kite flying contest which Amir wins, Hassan runs to catch the kite for Amir, a prized possession for the winner. An incident takes place which is later to have immense bearing on the lives of everyone related. Amir and Hassan drift apart and a few years later Amir and his father move to America to start life anew. Years later, Amir, a successful writer now, is called back to Pakistan by his father’s friend who reveals to him a secret that would send him searching for a little boy through Taliban-infested Afghanistan.
The beginning of the novel is set in Kabul, Afghanistan. It describes the peaceful life in pre-war Kabul where the two boys spend their time kite flying and roaming the streets. The Soviet invasion of the country sends Amir and his father looking for a new beginning in America, a haven for many refugees. The latter part of the novel is set in war torn Afghanistan ruled by the extremist Taliban. The novel describes the oppressive and inhuman life in the country, infested with paedophiles, drug-abusers and sadists.
The novel is written in simple English with no pretensions towards literariness. Hosseini writes in a simple and lucid style that endears the characters to the readers and makes the whole story come alive. Long after one has finished reading the book, one remembers such touching lines as when Hassan, running after the kite to catch it for Amir says to him “For you a thousand times over”.
This is one of the most heart-rending and touching novels that I have read in a long time. From the first chapter itself, the story gets you hooked. And till the end, the interest of the reader is maintained. I loved the deep affection that Amir and Hassan feel for each other, an affection that makes one of them give his life and the other risk his. This is a book highly recommended by me. Even people who are not avid readers will love this one. A page-turner in the true sense of the word.
Book Reviewed By Prerna Gupta
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