The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini [Review]
The Kite Runner. A classic novel of the last decade. It’s a book read in English classes, book clubs and everyone seems to have heard of it even if they haven’t read it. But what is all the fuss about? I finally got round to reading this well-known book. Though it’s set in two locations at a great distance from one another I wouldn’t so much describe The Kite Runner as a travel or adventure book. It’s more about the story and a journey of a man-made into who he is by a startling chain of events.
It’s a tale of relationships, redemption, guilt, and the unrelenting nature of the past. It’s a captivating story of a friendship that transcends time and even life and death. A story that shows how redemption can come and how we know in our hearts what needs to be done.
What’s The Kite Runner about?
“The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons — their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.”
Themes within the book
The most striking theme throughout the book has got to be Amir’s quest to redeem himself. From an early age, Amir feels responsible for the death of his mother, who died in childbirth. As a result, he’s always felt a need to prove himself to his father.
Then after a string of events that take place in his childhood, Amir feels responsible for the fate of his friend Hassan. Amir failed to stand up for his friend when they were both young. But years later, when Hassan’s son Sohrab needs help Amir journeys to Kabul. There, nothing will stop him saving Sohrab from the grips of an abusive life. In the process, Amir can redeem himself from his childhood failure to save Hassan.
But it is Amir’s father who set the moral standard for redemption early on within the book. His father said that if a boy doesn’t stand up for himself he will become a man who cannot stand up to anything. As an adult all Amir can do is show he has the courage and tenacity to stand up for what is right. In the process, he shows his father the true man he has become.
Amir’s relationship with his father, Hassan and later Sohrab ebbs and flows throughout the book. The connections are vitally important yet strained and tense. Secrets and the past continue to shape the present. Particularly for Amir who feels that the ‘past can never be buried’. Throughout the novel, you learn the effect of the past and how it continues to motivate Amir — through right and wrong.
What we thought about The Kite Runner
This is a story I became so ensconced in, I became to know and feel Amir’s pain as if he was a dear friend. For a short while, in the pages of this book, Amir was a dear friend I couldn’t reach out to and help. Instead, I could only watch on as he worked through the past and came to end the cycle of betrayal and secrets that had plagued him. As a reader I watched Amir grow from a selfish child to a selfless adult. It’s not often we get to experience that change so vividly in real life or storytelling.
I would highly recommend The Kite Runner to anyone looking for a story they can truly connect with. If you’re looking for a journey, not just travel and adventure but one about growth, culture and values this is for you.
I also enjoyed the chapters of this book set in Amir’s home country of Afghanistan. Nowadays Afghanistan is a country often described in the news and seemingly little understood or discussed by the Western world beyond that. The Kite Runner is a window to another side of Afghanistan, its people and its traditions.