This stunning debut novel from Khaled Hosseini attempts to educate the public about Afghanistan’s shifting and terrifying political climate. He does this in an emotionally inspiring way, allowing the reader to connect deeply with the characters and reflect on how the brotherhood of man connects every person regardless of ethnicity or class.
The story is centered around two friends who grew up in the same household in Kabul. Amir, the protagonist, is the son of a wealthy man. His friend Hassan is the son of a servant and a part of the shunned Hazara ethnic group. The reader is offered a window into the incredibly close yet conflicted relationship in their childhood, and shares in the pain of their eventual separation. Amir is able to escape to America during the tumultuous period of Russian invasion, seemingly leaving Hassan behind forever. Amir is compelled to return back to his home country as an adult to save whatever memory remains of his dear friend Hassan.
Although displayed against an unsettling backdrop of cruel local dictators and terrifying societal discord, Hosseini delicately unveils the beauty of the Afghan culture with his simple storytelling and delightful prose. Readers experience the pain of a country torn apart by war, and rejoice in the triumph of personal redemption nonetheless.
While some of the twists in the plot seem unreasonable, the reader must remember that The Kite Runner is a work of fiction and not a memoir. Despite this perceived shortcoming by the novel’s critics, Hosseini paints an honest picture of how human decency and kindness can still exist in a world fallen into the darkness of corruption.