The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. However I have read his other work “A Thousand Splendid Suns” before reading this. I can spot story stretches and added inserts. But I loved the book. It reminds me of the late 1990’s and the 2000s in Kathmandu/Nepal’s civil wars. My memories are retold close experiences. Army Men, Ex Liberation Armies. Their take on battle scenes and escape experiences. The sounds and the terrors – the fright.
I went through a lot of work and activities the author does via Khaled Hosseini Foundation. This book has however made an impact on what is seen by the world as “Afghan”.
As i write this, there is a fresh news of Allied Troops withdrawing completely out of Afghanistan. The US Disappeared one fine night. The British have left a few days ago. This is an interesting moment to have read this book. Back in September 11 the Twin Building attack resulted in the War on Terror. We were in Class 8/9 and we were discussing the scene with our Math Tutor. The extra Maths Class we had was more like chilling and curious FAQ with our Teen Curiosity and Math’s Teacher’s “I am Cool” vibes. This I co-relate with a question what must someone my age in Afghanistan must have gone through that day?
There is scene where Amir and his Father fled to Pakistan, a rich man (Amir’s father) scuttling in a truck, bribing of the corrupt Russian troops, Smuggled inside an empty Petroleum Tanker. And a Tragic death of Amir’s teen friend due to suffocations inside the tanker. “Teens” just as we were in 2002. I myself have an experience as such. Back in 2002-03 on our way to Kathmandu, Bhairawa towards Mungling we were asked to switch vehicle in the middle of the Road. I do remember my father out in rage for their illogical activities. There were lots of questions as to why? There were fear as to why. tho we boys were too fatigued to care but yes, it could have been any situations. “Were we a decoy van to the armies?” The roads we travelled through did have burnt trucks and buses and burnt tires. Places we stayed due to full blown riot, Birgunj especially we were caught in tear gas firing while eating momos. We were re-arranged to get out via local help, extra cash help came in from a doctor we were referred to. Yup that was what we had going.
In Kite Runner, The characters Amir. Hassan, Ali lived in Wazir Akbar Khan city- an opulent one back then located next to an army barrack that one fine night erupted in gun fires and rocket launches. The incident that over threw/ exiled the King /President in the year around 1978.
Coming to the Book Review, here are my take.
The Racism and the Loyalty behind it. Hassan was a Hazara a race known in Afghanistan as inferior. A looks of Mongol and 1000s as a Military unit of the Ghengis Khan (Minghhan) left behind to settle and grow. They are the most oppressed race in the region.
Hassan is a constant companion and a loyal servant to the end. His father Ali has been serving the household just as he was a companion to Amir’s father “Baba”. Hasan similarly has been his Kite Runner and a listener to all the stories Amir recites under a pomegranate Tree. Afghanistan is rich with culture and horticulture as portrayed by the book.
Kite Runner/ Kite Running is when someone wins an honor by grabbing the last fallen kite in the Kite Festival.
The competition that brings out all the young and old alike out in the field after the harvest season. Basking in the sun, the joy of anticipating a win and chasing the fallen kite. The celebration that companionship during an era of no electronics and phones.
The part of the story also highlights the racisms and rage that is there for a Hazara (Hassan) as can be seen portrayed by a high class rich teenager Aseef. The seeds are planted young. The influences and inspiration that is inculcated at a young age reach the older age. It is apparent in our society as well. The behaviors we inculcate at young age is embeded all through our older years, Eg the fuss over food, the sense of humor and sarcasm, the ego and rage factors. They all come from what we absorb at young age. Aseef is a classic example. He was never corrected but his flames were just fanned with fame and family wealth. But at the same time Rahim Khan, Amir’s uncle and confidante. Baba’s Best friend and business partner seeds the writer in Amir. He encourages Amir to write stories, he gives him a journal on his birthday which eventually leads to Amir becoming a writer.
Then there is the Baba and Amir struck in deadlock. Amir wants to impress Baba but they are an unlikely personality. Baba is sportive and Amir is studious. The Kite Festival was a click to win Baba’s Heart but he lost his heart to Hassan. Hassan stood up and got raped to bring home the coveted prize home. Amir however stood silent, did not stand up and let the guilt swallow him. The milestone that changed two friends into the distance of memories. This again is fulled by the social norm of “Class” and Race Division. But Hassan apparently is Amir’s step brother as we read in the latter part.
The story moves to two separate lives. Amir and Baba are now in San Jose, California. Hasan and Ali in a local away from main city of Kabul living an independent life.
I love the book very much and can go on more about it, ending up with another book right here.
Corelating with the recent US Troops vacating Afghanistan, Taliban Taking over and the chaos that has now followed. This book will give you all the details you require to visualize the present situation of Afghanistan.