The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a coming-of-age, historical fiction novel that I’m sure many of you will have already heard of!
The story surrounds and is narrated by Amir, a Pashtun Afghan who lives in Kabul. This is a book about family, friendship, class, war and what it means to call a place home. The Kite Runner begins in 1970s Afghanistan before the fall of the monarchy and the later rise of the Taliban. We begin at Amir’s childhood and his friendship with the Hazara boy Hassan – his best friend and the boy he is jealous of most. As the two spend hours buried in stories, flying kites and going to the cinema the Kabul they know and love is unfurling around them, just as Amir’s relationship with Baba is. The winter of 1975 will set forth a series of events that change Amir’s whole life and the lives of everyone he loves.
I went into this book knowing that it was going to be heartbreaking, earth-shattering and tear-jerking and thats why I’m shocked that I was still so surprised when it ended up being all of those things precisely. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kite Runner, not just because of how it made me feel, but more importantly, because of what it taught me about the world I am living in today.
Amir’s description of Afghanistan is worlds away from the Afghanistan I knew, the Afghanistan I had seen, whilst growing up, on the news. In a similar way to Exit West, Hosseini humanises these parts of the world that Western media is so inclined towards demonising. Kite Runner is not just a powerful text that shines light on the horrors of modern islamaphobia, it is also a cry for help to all of the Afghani children who have been left out in the dark because of ignorance and arrogance. After finishing this book I felt like I had gotten closer to learning what it is to truly feel empathy for another human.
Hosseini’s characters are rich, beautiful and horrendous constructs, constructs that are balanced perfectly with accessible but provocative language. Amir’s narration is both extremely frustrating and painfully rewarding; Hosseini pushes us to hate his protagonist so that when we learn to love him we are all the more shocked.
I will say that this is not an easy read – I won’t spoil of course, but do not go into The Kite runner expecting a nice story or a fun read. I recommend this book to all of you because it is important that this kind of story is told.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.