Before reading this book, I had very little prior knowledge of Afghanistan beyond there were quite a few wars that had happened there and it was, at one point, a stronghold of the Taliban. I am pretty ignorant of the intricacies of Islam and the different sects within it. I did not know of the deep and detailed history of the country. I’m not entirely sure about where half the places mentioned in the book are within Afghanistan. These are all things I plan to address as a result of reading this book.
The Kite Runner is a very emotional book. There guilt by the ton, happiness, jealousy, innocence, fear. All these feelings weave as if worked on a loom to form the backdrop in which the books events occur. The main character, Amir, narrates the tale of his childhood with his servant and friend Hassan, how their friendship is changed due to one painful event and the subsequent guilt and life path Amir takes afterwards.
The book is almost explicitly violent. There’s rape, executions, brutality and attempted suicide which does make certain parts of the book very dark to read. The happier sections benefit from these disturbing events as it gives the book contrast and makes the joy of events like marriage, kite flying and forgiveness all the more poignant.
The Kite Runner is a very popular book, having been positively reviewed by many and a best seller for several years. There is a reason it is popular, probably the same reason I managed to read over three hundred pages in under twenty-four hours: It captures the reader’s thoughts and holds them hostage until the last sentence. Then, like a kite with its string cut, you are set free on the winds of the story to ponder, flutter and spread the wonder of this book to others.