The Kite Runner

Running from Conflict

The time has come for something sombre.

My reading had hit a wall in the past months. Exam season dries your free time like salt on snails. It’s been slow and peppered with intervals.

Now that I have escaped the age of darkness and despair (exam-time), I am confronted with a substantial amount of summer reading for next year. With a selection of books to choose from, I settled on Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

THE PLOT: Amir, the son of a wealthy family, has always dreamt of becoming a storyteller. But he never imagined that his servant and childhood friend, Hassan, the boy with “a China doll face, green eyes, and a harelip,” as well as Afghanistan’s rocky history from the 70s to 2005, and the life-altering events of a kite-fighting contest during one winter’s day would be the tragic story he would have to tell.

In the Western world, Afghanistan is synonymous with the Taliban and the War on Terror – poverty, and war. Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-American giving him a viewpoint from both worlds.

After 26 years in America, Amir returns to the horrors of modern Afghanistan, where such tragedies as public executions, extreme poverty, and child prostitution are commonplace.

But this cruel representation is flipped on its head as Amir reflects on a 1975 Afghanistan. Family roots are treasured, the community is strengthened through friendships spanning generations, and events such as the annual kite-running competition show a beautifully tight community. When Kabul is covered in the stench of diesel and lined with bullet-ridden buildings, the reader can reminisce with Amir, thinking back to the smell of ‘lamb kabob’ and the happy life that once was.

I read this book not only as a heart-breaking story but also as an intriguing insight into life in Afghanistan. Housseini best describes Kabul as follows:

"Take two Afghans who've never met, put them in a room for ten minutes, and they'll figure out how they're related."

Amir had many connections in the past, usually through his father, Baba, a strong, driven man whose burly appearance matches his incredible feats of building an orphanage and allegedly wrestling with a bear. While stubborn, he is a man of strong morals.

This heroic image cannot be further from our protagonist: a soft-spoken boy who lives in his father’s shadow and cowardly avoids conflict. His escape from Afghanistan doubles as an abandonment of his guilty past. In the middle of Afghanistan’s decay is the rotting fruit of his actions.

In conclusion, The Kite Runner presents a heart-wrenching story in a beautiful narration of loyalty, betrayal and finally redemption through vibrant scenes and details. Hosseini shows us that the actions in a single moment can affect everyone around you and echo through history.

(5 / 5)

Thanks all for reading! This is probably the Pick I’m most proud of at this time. I hope you all enjoyed it.

‘Til next time!

Vinci