Publisher: Riverhead Books
Released: May 29, 2003
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime."
Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
Shortly after starting The Kite Runner I mentioned to someone that I had just started reading it. “Ah, I loved the first part of that book.”, she said. I replied with “Oh? You didn’t like the rest?” and got the answer: “Oh, I did. It’s a good book.”
It seemed like a strange thing to say at the time. Having now read the book myself, I think I know exactly what she meant.
The Kite Runner is a really good book for many reasons. It has some really beautiful moments, some really uncomfortable moments, and some moments that are just downright gut-punching. The raw and seemingly effortless way in which it conveys happiness, but also sadness, guilt, hopelessness, anger, and pain makes it a really special book.
At the root of it all is the story of a boy from Afghanistan, and the story of his life as he transitions from childhood to adulthood. With that comes a window into a culture, a way of living, and often a way of thinking that is foreign to me. Much of this is extremely interesting, but more importantly it also feels very real, and adds an extra layer to the story itself.
This book has so much going for it, and it is therefore a bit of a pity that I loved only the first part of it. Because, again, there are so many great things in this book. There are quite a few gear-changes in the story, which isn’t a problem in itself, but during one of them I think the book loses some of its emotional intensity, and never quite manages to get it back. It goes from being an engrossing emotional story to being a story with plenty of engrossing emotional moments. While the latter is still good it’s just not quite the same.
The Kite Runner is a really well done, solid, good, worthwhile read, and I’d recommend it to anyone. I just think it could have been a little bit more.