The book I am reviewing is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Mr. Hosseini, an Afghan native, is a doctor-turned-writer who currently resides in California. He has written three novels, all of which feature Afghanistan as a country in some way and an Afghan native as the main character. All three novels spent time as New York Times bestsellers, although The Kite Runner, his first novel, is still possibly the best-known book.
This book follows the life of a certain Amir, from his childhood through to adulthood. The book is split into three parts. The first part covers Amirr’s childhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the events that transpired there with his friend Hassan. Part two then goes on to cover Amir and his fatherr’s exodus from Afghanistan after the communist takeover and their new life in the United States. The final part of the book shows Amir returning to Afghanistan at the behest of an old family friend. It is a politically charged book telling a compelling redemption story.
Although it is fiction, The Kite Runner gives an accurate and detailed description of Afghanistan. It depicts the early days of modern Afghanistan, the book starts on the day the king is overthrown and a republic is declared, as well as some of the communist era, and it even shows some of Afghanistan in a more present-day light. This book might be a fictional drama, but the setting is historically accurate making this a tool for anyone attempting to study and understand not just Afghanistan, but the present-day Middle East and Central Asia as a whole.
Foremost on my mind is this books main focus. I have heard/read it called a political commentary a few times, both by personal friends as well as from my teachers in school. It is easy to see where this point is reached. Throughout the story, Amir talks of the situation in Afghanistan, sometimes even giving in-depth explanations. Moreover, story itself shows instances of life in that part of the world, like when the soldiers mocked Hassan. The author goes through great lengths to make the reader empathize not just with important characters but also with short-lived supporting characters, such as the young woman the Russian soldier wanted (or even the soldier himself). The Kite Runner is full of reasons why it mainly is a political commentary on Afghanistan. In spite of this, I would argue that this is not the main purpose of the book, though it certainly could be one of them. I believe that this story is meant to be a father-son story.
Through out the book, Amir is constantly referencing his father. This may seem fairly normal, and honestly it is. After all, what boy does not look up to their father (for the most part)? Still, in this case, there might be more to it. Historically speaking, Eurasian societies have always been mainly patriarchal, and in such societies, the eldest son held an important place after the father. The eldest son carried the family name after his father would pass away, therefore he would be the main inheritor of the family estate. These traditions are still strictly upheld in certain parts of the world today, Afghanistan being one such place. In the book, we know that Amirr’s father is either rich or extremely well off. Yet he never sends Amir away. He shows frustration, and sometimes it even seems more like disgust or disdain, towards his son. Still, he always keeps him close, empathizing with Amir both in moments of sadness and happiness. In short, the reader is shown how strong and deep their bond as father-son is, in turn showing the lengths they would go through for each other. In addition, we also see Amir as he struggles to keep Hassanr’s son in his attempts to keep him as his own. At the beginning of this review, I called The Kite Runner a redemption story, and it really is! Amirr’s redemption comes when he chooses to become a father.
Overall, The Kite Runner is a great book for many reasons. It accurately depicts the setting and events that the story is a part off. The characters are developed and engaging individuals whom, even if you are not rooting for them, you can still empathize with. We are able to see the world and political climate from where Amir originates. Still, through all this, the presence of Amirr’s father and even Amirr’s own decisions show how a fatherr’s love is so important though out this book. The father-son relationship definitely is one of, if not the most, powerful driving force in The Kite Runner.
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