FOR YOU, A THOUSAND TIMES OVER
After a couple of dreary months reading totally forgettable stuff, finally a book which reaffirms my faith in good writing. Yes, if you think I am sadly behind the times, I am. Seriously, it's not my fault. But I finally read it. And read it again. And plan to read it atleast five more times. What a book! Amir's journey from cowardice to courage mirrors the story of his country, Afghanistan, from prosperity to poverty.
For those of you who still haven't got around to reading the book, The Kite Runner follows the life of Amir, the son of a rich businessman in Kabul, and his brave friend Hassan, his low-caste servant's boy. Amir is desperate to gain the attention of his Baba, and enters the local kite-flying tournament, with the loyal Hassan by his side. The tournament affects their lives in more ways than they expect, with Amir being a silent witness to an act that leaves him shamed forever. Unable to face Hassan anymore, he frames him for theft, driving him out of their home and shattering their friendship forever. The Soviet invasion forces Amir and his father to flee to America, but neither the passing years nor his new life can assuage his guilt. A chance for redemption draws him back to war-torn Afghanistan, where he faces the ghosts of his past and tries to make amends for his mistakes.
Hosseini's writing feels like a Persian carpet- intricate and velvety. This is only the second book by an Islamic author I have read, but the similarities are distinct-subtle, vivid imagery, poetic flow of prose. His descriptions of Hassan's and Amir's friendship is poignant, the images of Kabul, then and now, are rendered beautifully. Amir's betrayal of Hassan, his final confrontation with Assef, Sohrab flying a kite with Amir, some of my favorite scenes. You feel angry at Amir's spinelessness and choke at Hassan's selfless love. To me, the story was not very novel; I have seen versions of it in many Bollywood movies. But the way he told it simply blew my mind away.
Oh, by the way, skip the movie. One, the actors (except maybe for Baba and Rahim Khan), were not how I pictured them. The acting was wooden, and grown-up Amir looked more like a Lux model. Two, lots of stuff edited out, others condensed, making you feel like you are watching a hurriedly made docu-summary. It just doesn't touch you the way the book does. Beg, borrow or buy (try not to steal), but read the book.
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