Hello everyone! This is a book that I read as part of my syllabus during my A Levels, however it was on my TBR list before, so really it only gave me the extra incentive to get on and read this book!
1970s Afghanistan: Twelve year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-flying tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realised that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
Hosseini presents Amir as a sensitive and intelligent son of a wealthy business man in Kabul, separating his ethnicity from Hassan as an oppressed Hazara, with Amir’s status as a politically and financially superior Pashtun. Amir’s need for affection from his father causes jealousy and conflict between his loyal friend Hassan, whom receives equal affection despite only being their servant of a lower class. Amir’s cowardice compared to Hassan’s bravery is heightened in an unforseeable event Hassan is a part of, leaving Amir trapped by his guilt as a coward. This novel follows the story of Amir, a gifted storyteller, and his journey of redemption to forgive himself for his actions as well as his country for the divisions within classes that equal poor treatment from the rich to the poor.
The novel parallels Amir’s personal world with the larger political world, giving the reader a sense of the oppression faced within Afghanistan and how each of the characters deal with their role in this society. There are important themes which are always relevant in societies across the world, from issues of power and ethnicity to gender politics, organised religion to dehumanisation.
As expected, due to my countless re-readings for my course, this novel has sky-rocketed its way to becoming one of my favourite books of all time. I urge everyone to read this book, no matter what your age is, it will change the way you view our world and make you want to become a better person yourself as shown through Amir’s character development. Hosseini has captured Afghan society through the eyes of his characters to demand attention on the issues Hosseini’s country faces, just as in the novel Amir writes too.
Possibly some of the most powerful lines come from this novel along with the most heart fulfilling:
- “For you, a thousand times over.”
- “There is a way to be good again.”
- “Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.”
- “It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.”
- “It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”
Thank you for reading this blog post!
Jade Anna x