This post is part of the 50 reviews I committed to doing as part of The Classics Club.
Two summers ago, I read And the Mountains Echoed, and I was enthralled by Khaled Hosseini’s powerful writing style. I immediately put the rest of his books on my (never-ending!) Goodreads to-read list. Earlier this year, I got myself an Audible subscription, and downloaded The Kite Runner. I thought I was in for a good read (or rather, I should say, listen), but I was in for a surprise. The Kite Runner was literally an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t know if it’s because I was listening to the book instead of reading it, but what I know is that this book is unlike any other I have read before. I’ve read a lot of books about children who were abused/betrayed by those closest to them, but I’ve never read such a book from the perspective of the person who betrayed their closest friend before.
The story begins with the childhood of the narrator, Amir, and his best friend, Hasan. They’re separated by a societal caste system prevalent in Afghani society in the 70s, where the Hazoras, who are Shia Muslims, are considered lowly compared to the Pashtuns, who are Sunnis. Hasan is the son of Ali, Amir’s father’s servant, and he lives with his father in a hut on Amir’s father’s property. However, Amir’s father does not treat Hasan like any other servant’s son. In fact, he even remembers his birthday regularly. This puzzles Amir in his childhood a lot, because his father is quite distant and cold with him. Yet Amir doesn’t treat Hasan differently due to this. A few weeks into the story, a kite flying contest takes place, and Amir betrays Hasan in the worst possible way a person can betray someone who is practically a brother to them.
I remember telling myself no, this isn’t happening, he’s going to go and get someone or do something to stop this, but nope, he didn’t budge. He let it happen, to the person who keeps repeating over and over to him: “For you, a thousand times over.” I won’t go into details so I don’t spoil the book for any of you out there who may have not read it yet, but my favorite part is when Amir, now a grown adult with his own family, finds a way to redeem himself, at least partially.
If you’re a fan of contemporary classics, then this is a must-read for you. Rarely do we see in fiction protagonists who are the antagonists in the story they’re telling, and this is one of the best books that shows you the humanity of those who transgress on others’ rights.
Have you read The Kite Runner? If so, do let me know your thoughts on the book in the comments below!