Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Review : The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

“For you a thousand times over!”

Those are the magic words that moved me to tears when reading The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini. Actually, The Kite Runner is the first English novel that I read, not taking into account the compulsory texts for English lessons during school days. I read most of this book while in the train, on my way to work and back. Reading The Kite Runner in that situation did not allow me to fully concentrate on it. Nevertheless, I feel like crying when I reached the last words of the novel, although I was fully aware that I was in a train packed with people. Those last words, repeated in the book at the right time, trigger the reader’s emotion.

Hassan first said those words to Amir when he helped Amir to run for his kite in a kite-fighting tournament in their hometown in Kabul. Hassan and Amir are the main characters in this novel and the story evolves around them. When Amir won the tournament, he was very proud to be able to prove to his Baba (father) that he is a capable person. That was the finest moment for Amir. He had won his Baba’s heart. He had melt down the ice barricade that separated him and his Baba for years since he was born. Ironically, that moment was also the worst moment of his relationship with Hassan, his servant, his long-life friend and his brother. Amir did not stand up and defend Hassan when he was sexually abuse by a bully who was also competing in the tournament. Later, Amir regretted himself and he carried the guilt to adulthood.

“There is a way to be good again”, the words of advice from Rahim Khan, a close friend of Amir’s Baba, brought Amir back to Afghanistan, to the fond memories of his Baba, Hassan, Ali and Rahim Khan. Amir was willing to leave his wife and a stable writing career in America for a while to go back to his home country. The words of Rahim Khan mould him to become the new Amir, leaving the old one who was always running from problems cowardly and let other people handle them. It was Hassan who had always done the problem-solving job for him. It was always Hassan, the boy whom Amir has betrayed, despite Hassan’s loyalty and love for him.
Amir’s departure from America back to Afghanistan created another drama in his life. He did it for the the sake of Hassan and redemption. When you pay for the price of redemption, the world will always give it back to you with a more worthy price. Amir finally received the price, when he could fly the kite again and win many people’s hearts. This time without betraying anyone.

The Kite Runner is available in Taylor's Libraries. The call number is F HOS.

About the Author
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965. He earned his MD in 1993 from University of California. His debut novel, The Kite Runner, was published in 2003. It is an international bestseller, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. Khaled Hosseini is a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Reviewed by Haizir Othman, Tan Sri Loy Hean Heong Library III,
Leisure Commerce Square.

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