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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    The Kite Runner

    Title: The Kite Runner; 371 pgs.
    Author: Khaled Hosseini
    Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group (2003)

    It is with great detail and heart that Khaled Hosseini writes his captivating novel, The Kite Runner. It is an endearing story of a young, Afghani man on a search for salvation for a past sin that constantly plagues him. In his search, he encounters many obstacles concerning love, truth, valor and the decay of his homeland, Afghanistan.

    The young narrator, Amir, starts the novel by telling a compelling account of his relationship with his servant’s son, Hassan. Hassan is every piece of Amir’s childhood. They read together, fly kites together and yet live two completely distinct lives. Hassan lives in a muddy shack while Amir lives in a palace with his elite father.

    Hassan’s social status makes him an outcast to Afghan society, thus he is forced to stay at home and labor while Amir receives an education. It is apparent, that Amir envies Hassan because Hassan is aware of his identity and his niche in life. Amir can’t identify himself as he struggles with the clash between his father’s expectations and his own interests.

    Hassan is never troubled by the unfortunate cards that he is dealt. His optimism and candor at such a young age make him a saint. The young and often mischievous, Amir, takes advantage of Hassan’s loyalty at times, but still Hassan’s devotion proves to be unyielding.

    Unlike many fiction novels, Amir is not your typical main character hero. He is not courageous and he is morally flawed. When Hassan falls into the hands of danger, Amir neglects his duty as a companion and fails to defend him. This moment of weakness changes Amir’s life forever.

    About the same time that Amir’s childhood and innocence is robbed from him, civil war breaks out in Afghanistan. Amir and his father flee to America and establish a new life. Years later, by the request of an ailing friend, Amir returns to his native soil to find it in ruins under the oppressive rule of the Taliban.

    It is here where the reader’s emotions are tried the most. The dramatic details of the public execution of innocent civilians’ leaves one feeling utterly horrified. Amir says of the kids exposed to this dark and vile way of life, ‘There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.’

    With his return to Afghanistan, Amir is determined not to lose the’ one last chance at redeeming himself to Hassan. The twists and turns in his mission make the book incredibly suspenseful and hard to put down.

    When Amir laughs, the reader smiles and when Amir cries, it is hard not to be upset. Hosseini’s use of vivid images and descriptions allow The Kite Runner to be more than a thrilling movie for the mind.

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