Books always hold the power to transform you into a magical world. Kite Runner is one such novel. This was Afghan-American author, Khaled Hosseini’s first bestseller. This story is about friendship. Moreover, it digs through several layers of betrayal, guilt, and redemption. It not only unearths the beauty in a father-son duo but also exhumes different shades of brotherhood.
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…” – The Kite Runner
About the Author:
Khaled Hosseini was born on March 4, 1965, in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was the eldest son in the Hosseini family. Khaled came from a well to do household. Furthermore, he spent the majority of his childhood flying kites. At the mere age of 11, the Hosseini family moved to Paris. Eventually, he became a citizen of America.
Khaled started his career as a doctor. Although, after successful novels like “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and “The Kite Runner” Hosseini became a full-time author. Although, Khaled Hosseini has an interesting twist to his life story. He returned to his home country Afghanistan at the age of 36. He is often seen telling his readers how he felt guilty to have left his country before the Soviet invasion and the wars that followed. Hence, one always notices Khaled’s stories revolving around his motherland Kabul.
“I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the valley of Pansher on my lips. I ran.”
The Kite Runner revolves around the pure friendship of Amir, a rich Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara boy. Furthermore, Hassan is the son of Ali, a servant in Amir’s household. The story is based in Kabul. Additionally, Hassan and Amir are often seen running around in the small yet breathtaking alleys flying kites. One commonality between both our protagonists is that they are motherless. The story also
shows the love Amir’s father possesses for both the boys. Both Hassan and Amir are treated equally. Although readers notice that Amir is a coward whereas Hassan can be seen as the opposite.
The narrative takes a major twist when Hassan is brutally beaten and raped by Assef, the local bully. Surprisingly, Amir encounters the situation but is too scared to speak up. In addition to that, he cuts off all ties with Hassan to live a guilt-free life. Amir and his father eventually escape from the wars and move to California.
Fifteen years later, Amir receives an unexpected call from Rahim Khan, Amir’s father’s best friend. He calls him back to Kabul for an urgent matter. When Amir meets Khan he reveals to him that both Ali and Hassan are dead. However, the Taliban have kidnapped Sohrab, Hassan’s son. Rahim pleads with Amir to save Hassan’s little boy. After numerous incidents and triumphant fights, Amir saves Sohrab. Moreover, he adopts him and takes him to the U.S.A with him. At first, a little hesitant, Sohrab eventually acclimatizes to Amir and his wife. In the last chapter, Amir is seen teaching Sohrab to fly kites.
Amir: Amir is the protagonist and the narrator of the story. Khaled Hosseini tries to build a cowardly connotation around this character. The readers witness him in a situation where he does not help his best friend in times of need. But, Hosseini drastically changes the personality of this character by arousing feelings of sympathy in the readers’ minds. By the end of the book, the audience is in love with Amir and relishes his unforgettable friendship with Hassan.
Hassan: This character is the second protagonist of the novel. He is a disciple of Amir. Furthermore, he comes from a low lying background. Even though he is only adhered to as a memory throughout the book, the audience feels connected to him, as if it were his own story.
Assef: Assef is the villain of the book. He is seen creating ruckus throughout the town of Kabul. Additionally, he is also the reason for the end of Hassan and Amir’s friendship. Amir describes him as a bully. He is also known as a sociopath who has the traits of Hitler.
In 2007, The Kite Runner was adapted as a film. This movie starred Khalid Abdalla as Amir and Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada as Hassan. Marc Foster directed the film and David Beinoff wrote the screenplay. The movie successfully captures the nuances of the book. It puts forth the storyline in a way that makes you feel as if you are turning the pages of the book itself.
Although this book received immense backlash. The public of Afghanistan critically judged the the rape scene . Hosseini in an interview admitted that the rape scene, in particular, was the most important. It was directed so as to preserve the integrity of the story.
Impact on the Literature World:
“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” – The Kite Runner
This book created a whirlwind across countries. People were devastated as well as astonished while reading the book. This was one of the early books that addressed the Afghanistan wars up close. The novel not only triggers the audience with immense drama but also elevates the beauty and destruction of the country as a whole. The Kite Runner displays an array of relationships. The beauty of the father and son duo. Also, the purity of Hassan and Amir’s friendship. This saga basically asks its audience to feel the realities of the life of Afghanis during wartime. In other words, it portrays the circle of life. What goes around comes around. Hosseini gracefully tributes this book to his homeland.
Although there was massive criticism in respect to the novel as well as the movie, both the adaptations soar through the sky with flying colors. A unique book with the taste of Afghani culture and society questions its audience about redemption. Hosseini smartly convinces his readers of the unknown world. The world that exists beyond the bricked walls of our secured lives.
The Kite Runner displays agony, guilt, and cultural and religious gaps in the society as the major themes of the story and the basic crux of the novel.
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