|‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini #BookReview|
I had read ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini long time back – almost 10 years ago after it came highly recommended to me by my college bestie GD. I remember I had found it a heavy read – maybe I wasn’t fully ready to understand the complexity of the story and all that it had to offer. This January when I went to my hometown, I found this book in one corner of my bookshelf there and I picked it up again. And I must tell you what a fabulous read it has been and I am so glad to have read it again. It is an emotional and heartbreaking read, one that will need you to stop and reflect deeply about the grey shades of human behaviour. If that is something that piques your interest, you should definitely pick this book next (in case, you have not already, given the popularity of the book).
The story in ‘The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini’ is complex and layered and spans over decades; it explores the themes of loyalty, friendship, betrayal and redemption. Set in Afghanistan that is on the brink of political upheavals after the fall of the Monarchy, the story walks the readers through the political scene in the country over the years – the Soviet military intervening, the fleeing of refugees to Pakistan and the United States and ultimately the rise of Taliban.
At the heart of the novel are two main protagonists – Amir and Hassan. Amir is the son of a rich Pashtun businessman in Kabul and Hassan is the son of their servant – Ali, a Hazara. Even though they are a class apart, Amir and Hassan grow up together to become pretty good friends. Both of them love flying kites and are experts in their own right. Amir in a bid to win his father’s attention and love ramps up to win a local kite festival with the help of Hassan. Hassan is unflinchingly loyal to Amir and can go to lengths to stand up for him. However, Amir (often painted as timid) comes with his shades of grey and is unsure about his feelings for Hassan. So, when a time comes where he should have rescued and stood up for Hassan, he cannot muster the guts. This incident haunts Amir for the rest of his life and is instrumental in deciding the course of events later in his life.
I will not dwell on the storyline here as it is the thing to read in the novel. Hosseini is a master storyteller and just knows how to keep the readers hooked with a brilliantly constructed plot, an unwavering narration and beautiful prose. The characterization is superb – each one of the characters painted in various shades shines in their own space and as a reader, you can empathize with them. The story has all the elements in the right balance – there are tales of friendships, drama, romance, and suspense and with all that is happening throughout the novel, there is also a sense of hope in the end. That makes it all worthwhile. In the final chapter, many loose strings in the novel come together which personally makes it a gratifying read for me.
Throughout the book, I kept bookmarking lines worth quoting in this review. I think I should do a separate post on the quotes from this book because there are so many of them worth sharing here. But for now, I am going to quote a few of my favourites here.
“People say that eyes are windows to the soul.”
“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
“For you, a thousand times over”
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime...”
“And that's the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.”
“There is a way to be good again...”
“It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn't make everything all right. It didn't make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird's flight. But I'll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.
“Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don't have to say anything”
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