Looking back, I realized that I had a fairly decent childhood. I never suffered hard labour, was sent to a good private school, provided roof over my head, was bought clothes when I asked, more than enough food and lived in a just society. I look back with morose realization that not every child have a happy childhood like I had. Reading The Kite Runner made this more true.
Hassan is an illiterate servant boy whose harelip handicap never stopped him from being an energetic child. He wakes up early in the morning to help his father tend to their masters. His mother left him five days after he was born to join a travelling entertainment group. She never touched her son once. Hassan’s primary responsibility is to care for a boy his age, named Amir.
While Amir is away for school, Hassan sees to it that all his chores in the mansion are done in time for Amir’s return. You see, Hassan’s best friend is also his master. He looks up to him and cherishes every moment with him. His respect is non-compared to anyone.
In return, Amir reads to Hassan and shares with him his used toys and clothes. He also plays with him a lot while sharing his stories about school and his occasional travel with his businessman father (whom he calls Baba). But Amir is a mischievous child that sometimes plays to Hassan’s limitations. Once, he was asked by his servant boy what imbecile meant, a word he heard Amir say while reading aloud from a book. He toyed with his servant (or Hazara in Afghani), that it meant intelligent. “I’ll use it in a sentence for you” Amir said, “When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile.”
He would often challenge his Hazara but never once did Hassan fight back, even if the situation deserved it. It was always like that; Amir wins in mostly anything only because Hassan lets him or because he was born with that privelage. He also had no worries about the neighbourhood bullies, because if there is anything more certain in his life, it’s Hassan’s protection. The young Hazara loves his Pashtun master unconditionally.
“Yes Father,” Hassan would mumble, looking down at his feet. But he never told on me. Never told that the mirror, like shooting walnuts at the neighbor’s dog, was always my idea.
The Kite Runner carries on a grand heartbreaking story about cowardice, betrayal, remorse, and above all, friendship. It tells a story about a remarkable young Hazara who sacrifices what little he has to save his best friend. A friend who was reckless with their relationship and who will ultimately be haunted by things he left unspoken.
Set in pre-war torn Afghanistan, author Khaled Hosseini writes a compelling novel about the caste system that divides masters and servants. Though it includes a background of the Afghanistan plight, the story weaves in and out to emphasize the two protagonist. It speaks of the pain of the narrator as he travels his life with a guilt that would never leave him.
Hassan and I fed from the same breasts. We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.
Mine was Baba.
His was Amir. My name.
I love this book very much and I must say that the love entailed respect. I think there are a few novels that teaches you to be thankful and this is one of them. It took only a day for me to finish it and the day is spent with interludes of applause and sentiments. I was amazed with the young Hazara’s valour which raised him higher than that of the bourgeois he serves or the part-royalty he chose for a best friend. His character spoke eloquently of humanity and simple rules we can go by in life.
But like the real world, life is not fair in The Kite Runner. Life will be unjust to our servant boy; to the most cruel way possible. Yet before the story ends, we realize that there’s an extraordinary way for those who hurt him to be good again. Somehow, the ties that bind Hassan and Amir will live longer and stronger than they would ever know.
This book holds an incredible story … a thousand times over.
The Kite Runner
First novel of Khaled Hosseini, a Californian physician who is originally from Kabul, Afghanistan
Published by Riverhead Books