The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that I couldn’t put down, but this was one of them.
This book gave me a whole new perspective on Afghanistan … a place I was only vaguely aware of before 9/11. At times endearing and at others powerfully disturbing, I was struck first by its depiction of the universality of childhood. And how its innocence – skillfully woven in the symbolism of kite flying – could be snuffed out in a moment.
I had seen the film version of The Kite Runner several years ago, so as the book unfolded, I remembered many of the incidents. But – as usual – I preferred the book to the movie, even though the latter was excellent. The plot twists and character development keep the reader on edge throughout, and deeply involved in the life of the protagonist (Amir) and his people.
For me, one line stands out as a stark reminder of how quickly life changes. Spoken by the mother Amir never knew, it states: “[Profound] happiness is frightening. … They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.” Indeed that was the case for so many of the Afghanis affected by war and inhumanity in this book. Yet we are left with a sliver of hope for the future in the image of the kite flying free.