Reviewing of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
I borrowed this book from my local library more than a month ago and I put off reading it for weeks. Truthfully, I was scared to read it. Last year I read and reviewed A Thousand Splendid Suns (also by Khaled Hosseini), such a remarkable book but very emotional. I wasn’t ready for such emotions this time around so I decided to leave it until I was. However, when I started reading it, I discovered it wasn’t as hard to read as A Thousand Splendid Suns. It’s still pretty uncomfortable though, especially towards the end.
Year of Publication: 2003
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Summary (from Good Reads)
Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant, and constant companion is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.
There was a lot of silence in this book. By silence I mean keeping quiet when something should have been said, looking the other way and all of that. The silence ended up causing a lot of pain to Amir and the others involved. It was a great reminder that we should never look the other way. We all need to break this culture of silence, speak for what is right and defend those who cannot defend themselves. When we keep quiet, people suffer and sometimes we will have to live with the regret of not saying anything for the rest of our lives. I know it isn’t always easy but when we can, we should speak out.
Are we all evil?
There’s something I say sometimes to my friends, how we’re all a little evil inside. I know it sounds alarming, perhaps the word evil is a tad too harsh but you get my point. A better word would be selfish I suppose. It’s human nature after all the Bible does say that the heart of man is desperately wicked.
In many ways, Amir was very evil. Especially to someone so loyal, loving and undeserving like Hassan. Amir was very selfish and did things that would haunt him for the rest of his life. But at the same time, I understood. He was selfish, yes, but his acts were due to cowardice and a cry for validation from his father. I guess that was the intention of the writer, to show us that sometimes people do bad things not because they want to be bad, just because they’re afraid or don’t know how else to cope with a situation. It’s certainly a tough pill to swallow but it is true up to an extent. It does not apply to all cases, however. Assef ( a character in the book) was pure evil and I believe there was no justification for any of his deeds.
Whilst I admired Hassan’s undying loyalty, I also questioned it a little bit. It seemed a bit unrealistic at times, he was such a loving person even when he was wronged. His father, Ali too. If such people truly exist, I want to be like that. To be able to love and forgive so easily.
Whilst The Kite Runner is not an easy read, there’s an air of gloom, guilt and sadness around it. I would highly recommend it. There are a lot of lessons to be learned. One of the important ones is that we need to be careful of the choices we make as they can haunt us for a lifetime and sometimes there’s no way to redeem yourself no matter how hard you try. Lots of people liked this book and some didn’t. I liked it though. Having said that, I would point out that it’s not the sort of book I would like to reread as it’s pretty intense.
Favourite quote from the book:
For you, a thousand times over
It was such a loving and loyal thing to say, I don’t know why it gets to me but it does.