A review by amynbell
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini


We currently have 3 Afghani students applying for visas to attend the ESL school I work for, so this is a timely book for me to read because of the difficulties they're encountering. I just got a call that the father of one family was able to get his visa but the wife and 4 children were not as collateral for his return. The other Afghani family applying is scattered as refugees such that the children live in UAE and the parents live in Pakistan.

Largely, I think even well-educated and world-aware Americans still don't have a clear picture of what it's like to live in some of the more volatile places in the world today. And most of us are never going to get a chance to visit except through the pages of a book. The Kite Runner shows the splendor of Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion and also after the Taliban came in as false saviors. It shows today's Afghanistan as a nation largely filled with rubble, hungry people, and injustices. In one part of the book, Amir visits Afghanistan and isn't able to call his wife (who is in the USA) for a month. I didn't understand that until I heard a news item on NPR this morning explaining how it's only recently that Afghanistan has gotten cell phones and how land lines have been unheard of for years.

The story of Afghanistan is only a backdrop for the story of 2 best friends who are torn apart by ethnicity, jealousy, and lies. It is the story of the betrayal of a best friend and redemption that spans 4 decades. The tendrils of the lies that caused this betrayal and its aftereffects reaches to 3 different generations.

I wish I'd read this book sooner, but it was so popular that I stayed away from it. Sometimes extremely popular books are popular for a reason. I'm curious now to read Hosseini's other book. He has a true gift for telling the story of not just the characters of the book but also the story of a nation.