I always wanted to read this gem of a book for quite a long time. Last month a dear friend actually gave me her copy to read and another coaxed me to read it sooner 🙂 thanks to both of them that I had such a nice time travel yet again with a book. It took me back in time around 1984, when the then Prime-minister of India was shot dead by her own security guards (unfortunately both turban wearing Sikh). I was in sixth standard and one of my close friends, who would do anything for me (he loved me so much) actually called a Military Man (a turban wearing uniformed Sikh) “Aatankwaadi” (Terrorist) on his face and we cycled away as fast as we could but were caught and he got thrashed big time by the hunk of a man for calling him that. As almost every Sikh during those days overnight became a Terrorist just because the one who killed her belonged to that particular religion. Later I was so ashamed and sorry for myself that my bloody provocation and testing almost got him rusticated from school which I believe my mom saved. He loved me so much that he would always go to any extent to do anything, he would pick me up everyday from my home to school and drop me back as well. Will always stand in theater ques and get beaten by the cops to buy those precious cheap tickets to the movies that we could afford but never complained. In one word, he was my “Kite-Runner” that I actually lost in due course of time and it’s been three decades that I haven’t seen him, just like Amir in this heart-touching story loses Hassan but at least tries to amend it by getting him back in life again.
As I picked up the book to read it over the weekend, unto the 30% mark the story was a breezy read with so much “Afghani” material and so many details about life in “Afghanistan” not so long ago that it was a superb read. But beyond that point as the story develops and reader just gets a little glimpse as where the story was heading, it becomes a pretty tough read. My hands are still shaking as I type this and I am sure if you have read it, you would know my situation. Almost every five pages, I had to take a break to digest what I just read and as I kept ploughing forward, I had to actually turn off the book to control my tears by not letting them roll as I was travelling in a Bus to Mumbai and back during the course of the weekend. It became so hard to take beyond one point that every page will well up my eyes and I will tell myself to control my own emotion as it was “just a story” it wasn’t happening with anyone in real time, was it? Heart-touching and gut wrenching is the story of two kids “Amir” and “Hassan”. Born and brought up in Kabul in the 60’s when “Afghanistan” was still a peaceful country. How their life changes as the country goes to war with not only enemies but the internal war too between the various sects was simply unbelievable. As the two friends friendship gets tested, one who is living for the friend verses the one who never standbys his own best friend. How he betrays the friendship and doesn’t even realize what he was doing much to the shock of the reader, I actually wanted to get inside the book and shake him big time to wake him up from what he was doing (to no avail of-course).
Their childhood stories were no different then our own in so many ways that I could identify with it and the characters so very well. It is too brave of Khaled Hosseini to make his lead character such a vulnerable yet a true soul who confesses to his own faults but what I wanted (rather hoped against all hopes) was to see whether he would be able to make amends? You really need to read the book to know how and what he does. A riveting turn of events, some may find it too filmy that even I at one point of time realized that he did indeed went a bit overboard (but only once) in twisting the story but otherwise it worked beautifully like a charm. A book which is sure to last your memory for a life time. This story had so much to keep me grinning from ear to ear in equal measure to the tears it gave me. Like the Car that Agha drives to the way he travels out while the country goes in war, watch out for the contrast. The songs, music, books and movie references were simply too good, it was all happening right at the time all around the world. But the best part of the whole story is the “Kite Runner”, you’ve got to read it for the Kite-Runner it talks about and how he does it in style is to die for. One heck of an story and I was so delighted to read it for the reason that I myself could never fly a kite on my own without my friends help :), not even today I can raise a kite on my own to the sky.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the very few books which I will call the best on a “Father Son” relationship as well as “Best Buddies” too. The way the characters of “Agha” Amir’s dad is carved out, it was simply brilliant, the uptight Afghan who would take a bullet more than keeping his head down. What an amazing life they had (pre-war), it was simply superb, this is almost my first read from the region and country and I am totally amazed with the references and stories. Especially the Afghani jokes, Mulla Nasruddin stories, the way they speak with so much Hindi(sh) words being used in such beautiful ways. I am delighted that they actually used them just like that in an English book as the impact is totally amazing. The non-believer, super rich, upper class- Afghani Muslim (Agha), his best friend Rahim Khan and his servant (a Hazara, the lowest of the low) Ali (Hassan’s Dad), are the main characters around which the story is woven. From Afghanistan to Pakistan to United States of America, life and changing times is captured so beautifully that I was totally shocked and amazed. I haven’t read a better piece of literature then this for sure and I am now too inclined to read what he wrote next.
If you have read this, do let me know how you loved the characters of AmirJaan and Hassan. But if you haven’t read this, high time that you read it soon. But if you share a different opinion about the book and the story, do let me know what didn’t work for you, I would be very glad to know your thoughts. I totally loved it.