Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Kite Runner

When this book first came out for some reason I didn’t fancy reading it but, as it was my reading groups choice this last month I read it and loved it and wondered why I hadn’t read it before.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini explores the nature  of friendship, of forgiveness and of redemption, set against the turbulent background of his native Afghanistan.

The son of a rich and popular merchant, Amir leads a privileged life, wanting only to please his beloved but demanding father, Baba, and to play with Hassan, the child of Ali, Baba’s lifelong servant. Both Amir and Hassan are motherless. They spend almost all their time together, playing games and sharing stories in their favourite pomegranate tree. An encounter with Assef, the local bully, in which Hassan springs to Amir’s defence has appalling consequences, destroying their friendship and driving Amir to desperate measures to rid himself of Hassan, measures which result in a puzzling reaction from his father. When Ali and Hassan decide to leave of their own accord, Amir’s relief is short lived; he knows that his cowardice has been detected.

Baba and Amir are soon in flight themselves when the Russians invade. They flee first to Pakistan, then to America where Baba’s old life of influence and power is at an end.  They make a new life for themselves, embracing the San Francisco Afghan community, one of whom Amir eventually marries. But Amir remains haunted by his failure to protect  Hassan, unable to enjoy his success as a novelist and his marriage to Soraya, convinced that their inability to have a child and his father’s death are punishments visited upon him.

Amir is rescued by a phone call from Baba’s old friend, Rahim Khan, who offers him the chance of redemption. Once in Peshawar, where Rahim is dying, Amir learns that he is to find Hassan’s lost son. In so doing, he must summon his courage and face not only his old enemy, but also the destruction that has been wrought upon his homeland. In  return, he is rewarded with the truth about his relationship with Hassan and a greater understanding of his beloved Baba.

This is well worth a read, an excellent book, as I said I loved it!