“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini—a celebrated Afghan-American novelist—is an absolutely winsome yet devastating historical fiction novel, and it is certain to claim its place in your hearts. With probing words, Hosseini plucks every string in our hearts and makes us sing and cry a beautiful, yet heartbreaking song about betrayal, love and redemption.
The story revolves around Amir, a wealthy young boy living in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, Afghanistan, and Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. Despite their differences, Amir and Hassan grow up like brothers and best friends. The two spend their days practicing for the seasonal ‘Kite Flying Competition,’ a celebrated event that takes place in Kabul every year. Due to multiple reasons, Amir and his ‘Baba’ at first have a dislike for one another, creating an aura of revulsion in their household. That year, Amir is extremely determined to win the competition in an attempt to win his father’s love and affection. However, the very evening of that day, something unimaginable happens to Hassan that causes Amir to betray him, and tears the two boys apart like a kite that has been cut off from its string. Hassan, during the course of catching a kite, gets raped by Assef, the local bully in their community. But Amir doesn’t stand for his friend, and instead leaves the scene nonchalantly. Not long after, war rains down upon Afghanistan, and Amir flees to America with his father for their safety. As Amir starts anew and progresses in his life as a renowned writer, he discovers the glimmer of light at the end of the dark tunnel that embodies his past. Under Taliban rule, he must return to Kabul in order to finally attain what no other part of the world can offer him, something that no amount of money can buy: redemption. He must go to Kabul, to patch up the beautiful friendship he ripped apart all those years ago, when both of them were just two boys dreaming of a better future.
Khaled Hosseini’s approach of drawing readers in and representing situations is simply marvelous. He mirrors reality by signifying the beauty and cruelty of this world, as well as telling his readers that a person living and sulking in the shadows can find and reach the light that is only just visible and seemingly out of reach. The ending is something that every reader is likely to comprehend differently, but I think it tells us that both characters have found hope in each other to overcome their own silent struggles. Moreover, it illustrates the transformation of a person who loathes the few shadows of cruelty and misery in his world of light, as well as a person who learns to appreciate small, almost invisible, glimmers of hope and beauty in his world of darkness.
Ahmad Hassan Nadeem
A very literary individual, Ahmad Hassan Nadeem is a 14-year-old Pakistani published author—with several publications in renowned newspapers and magazines, such as DAWN, WriteUnite,The News International, and TRT, to name a couple. Especially apt in storytelling, he is based in Islamabad.