The Kite Runner

Drafted on: June 21st '09

Title: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

ISBN: 1-57322-245-3

Pages: 324

I read this book by Khaled Hosseini after watching the movie, The Kite Runner and also impressed reading his other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. The story is of two friends, Amir and Hassan, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir is the son of rich, whose father has built schools, hospitals in the city while his mother died during his childbirth. She was a professor at a college and a poet too. Hassan, a Hazara boy, is the son of his servant, Ali, who is very close to Amir and would sacrifice himself to protect his master, Amir. Inspired, by his mother's poetry which Amir would read from his own library, would write down short stories and poems. He would read them to his father's close friend, Rahim Khan, who would appreciate but was never appreciated by his father. Yet, "Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors", Rahim Khan would would comment.
It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned tat if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. 
The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in a hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms.
The beautiful story written by Amir to which Hassan replies: "Couldn't he have just smelled an onion?"

Amir's father being an atheist, would always advise him that the biggest sin is to steal, one doesn't become great by following religion. Amir had never done Namaz(prayer).

Hassan had always protected Amir and has been loved equally by his father. His father would buy him same clothes or toys as he would buy for Amir without any discrimination. Hassan could read Amir's mind and know his needs and limitations than himself. Though, he never went to school, could hardly read, his suggestions and advises were remarkable. They would play together. Words were carved on the tree trunk of pomegranate tree with a kitchen knife, " Amit and Hassan: The Sultans of Kabul".

Kite running festival celebrated in Kabul for which Hassan is a kite runner and Amir would always win. Amir is the winner and the kite is cut. Hassan who is also a sling shot expert, brings the kite facing odds from another notorious boy who always hated them. Amir realizes that he is a coward who has always been guarded by Hassan and begins to keep him at a distant!

The war begins with Soviets in Afghanistan, Amir and his father fly to America handing over their ancestral house to Hassan's father to take care. As years pass by, Amir excels in his poetry, marries Soraya. They learn that they can never have children, yet lead a happy marriage.

Soraya's encouragement makes Amir a successful novelist.

One fine day, Amir receives a letter from Rahim Khan who is almost his father's age dying from illness. He wants to meet Amir before he dies. Rahim Khan reveals enduring truth that Hassan was killed along with his wife and he was his father's son; his half-brother. Rahim Khan requests reluctant Amir to rescue Hassan's only son, Sohrab, who was in an orphanage in Kabul where he is made to dance dressed in a women's clothes.

"Thank you very match (much)" says Sohrab when he was rescued by Amir from the orphanage.

The guilt that, Amir couldn't stand for Hassan while he was always protected by him. How he had blamed Hassan for stealing money and wrist watch which he had never stole. Only time his father had cried, pleading Hassan's father not to leave the house for the suspecting Hassan of stealing. He realizes that he had given terrible pain to Hassan. But he was sure that all this would get over soon and he wouldn't have to suffer like this throughout.

Depressed by the fact that he will have to stay in an orphanage run by missionary and betrayal of trust by Amir that he wouldn't fulfill his promise of growing up with them in America, Sohrab cuts his wrist. For the first time after fifteen years, Amir does Namaz hoping to see Sohrab alive. But the little boy remains numb in spite of learning that he would no longer be in an orphanage. Amir tries to convince Sohrab that he would take him to US and he could stay along with them.

Each time, Amir looked at the Hassan's photo and at Sohrab, it reminded him the way he had ill treated him, the truth being Hassan inherited good qualities of their father.

This book made me cry as I finished reading. Khaled Hosseini has written the emotions, grievances, bondage of friendship. True friends always protect at worse times.

© Manasa. All rights reserved.

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