"A novel set mostly in Afghanistan. The introverted and insecure afghan narrator, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His best and most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of a servant. Amir feels he betrays Hassan by not coming to his aid when Hassan is set on by bullies and furthermore forces Hassan and his father Ali to leave his father´s service. Amir´s relatively privileged life in Kabul comes to an end when the communist regime comes to power and his extrovert father, Baba emigrates with him to the U.S. There Amir meets his future afghan wife and marries her. Amir´s father dies in the U.S. and Amir receives a letter from his father´s most trusted business partner and, for a time, Amir´s surrogate father, which makes Amir return, alone, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of the truth about himself and his family, and finally, a sort of redemption." -taken from Goodreads
The Kite Runner blew me away. Through Amir’s eyes I saw azure skies, filled with colorful kites. I saw snowflakes flittering to the ground. This powerful novel brought to life the joys and tribulations of the Afghan people, while also addressing the most basic elements of the human experience: guilt, death, redemption, and life. Hosseini spirited me away to Afghanistan, changed my world view, through the power of words.
“For you, a thousand times over”
The first quarter of the book filled me with dread. The tension filled me with foreboding, the falling out of Hassan and Amir. The small moments of enjoyment were always laced with Amir’s jealousy, prejudice against the Hazara, and so on. Still I loved reading about Amir’s everyday life and childhood. Somehow I shared his nostalgia and longing. This was exuberated by my trip to Turkey last year. I immediately recognized the food I had so thoroughly enjoyed there, unique treats and flavors of the Middle East. I loved all the foreign words and the cultural nuances Hosseini imparted. Afghanistan ceased being just a shape on the map, just a war zone uttered by a news anchor.
ALA’s 2008 top ten challenged book list featured The Kite Runner in ninth place. The novel does contain mature content, a very raw but true aspect of the novel. The jarring instability of Afghanistan -from monarchy to communism to the Taliban- made the streets dangerous, death around every corner. The social stigmas and prejudices also produced hardship. I felt I finally could start understanding the religious and ethnic conflict ravaging the Middle East. These problems are very real, and anybody should have the opportunity to reach for this book and savor the bitterness and the sweetness between its pages.
“There is only one sin and that is theft... when you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.”
When someone challenges and bans a book, that person steals a reader’s right to read. Whether a book is appropriate, morally correct, and so on is a personal opinion. Everyone should have the choice to either read a book or not. The Kite Runner movie was actually banned in Afghanistan due showing ethnic groups in a “bad light”. In this modern age, we are afraid to offend, afraid to be bold and face the things we might not like to see. The Kite Runner dug up the darkest human fears and passions, and flung them at the reader’s face. I doubt I’ll find another book like it, and I really don’t want to.