The Kite Runner

Author : Khaled Hosseini

Genre : Literature


One of the best stories I have read in the last decade, made me cry, cringe and get nostalgic. And like my favorite fictions, interspersed with actual episodes from a tumultuous period in Afghan history and society.

The protagonist is Amir, a Pashtun Afghan who is forced to move out of Afghanistan with his father when the Soviets take control of the country. He settles in US and marries an Afghan emigrant there. But then, to redeem for an act of cowardice when he was still a kid in Kabul, he goes back to the country (then under Taliban) to save his friend’s son.

Like all great literature, while the story line is simple, the sub-plots carry deep themes rich in emotions and understanding of human nature. There are complex themes of the relationship between father and son, between friends (Amir and his servant-friend Hassan, who is later also revealed to be his half-brother), of guilt and attempts at redemption (Amir sees his friend Hassan get raped but fails to prevent it; later takes great personal risk to go back to Taliban infested Afghanistan and save Hassan’s son); of ethnic differences (between Pashtuns/Sunnis and Hazaras/Shias, with the latter considered inferior and often oppressed); of poetic justice (Kamal is an accomplice in Hassan’s rape but is himself raped later… and multiple such ironies) and of soft romance styled in a conservative society (Amir’s attempts to woo his wife even when not allowed to talk to her in private).