“For you, a thousand times over,” Amir said to Sohrab. With that, Amir was the happiest man in the snowy park of San Francisco.
The theme of the pleasure of giving is one of the best message delivered in “The Kite Runner” wrote by Khaled Hosseini. Friendship, love, guilt, fear, betrayal and salvation, hope and faith, cruelty and punishment are the other themes brought by the author in the book. In the beginning, we were introduced to the main character Amir, an Afghan who migrated to the U.S, struggling with the guilt he hides for more than 25 years. With the call from Rahim Khan, a long time friend from Kabul, we were brought back to his childhood life where he live with his wealthy father and two loyal servants of a Hazara man name Ali and his son, Hassan who becomes his only best friend.
He treats Hassan like his toy, he plays with him and become the place he shows his compassion. As they play and grow together he learns how he like the company of Hassan, but in the same time he envy him for having the potential his father hopes in a son. He craves for his father’s affection, wanting his attention all for himself. One day, his fear made him betray Hassan and he made his only best friend leave with his father, not knowing that that would be the last time they see each other.
The story returns to the present and the image of that day still clear as the river. His cowardice has now become a big stone that covers his guilt. He’s now already an adult with a beautiful wife named Soraya, a good life as a writer and most important far from his long left but unforgettable sin. Now he was asked to go back to the place he most feared, to face it all again.
“There is a way to be good again”, said Rahim Khan. That sentence brought Amir back to Kabul, thinking he is visiting a sick old friend. Then everything gets 360 degrees when the truth is revealed. Hassan had been killed and he left a son. Now he has to retrieve the son from the Taliban whom had dominated the Afghan society. He hesitated and gave excuses, but the biggest truth is then revealed – he and Hassan are half-brothers.
How it ends? You have to read it yourself. The book had been first published in 2003 and the film adaptation had been made in 2007 if I’m not mistaken. Comparing both, I say the book maybe should just stay as a novel. There’s no way the film can match up as emotional and as beautiful as the book. No offence to the film-maker, it’s just that the story is so rich, cutting and simpling it up makes the story lose it’s strength point.
I see Khaled Hosseini’s strength point is in the way he describe every plot of his story. He made believe like we are really experiencing the conflict, feeling all the emotion and the intensity. The characters were well built, as we get to know every person in depth without exaggeratedly described. I can easily absorb the development and the climaxes of the story even though many flashbacks technique were used in the book. Maybe in some plot can be easily predicted, but for me it still leaves a great impact.
Still, it made some controversy in the Islamic world as how it portrays the Taliban, illustrated in there as unreasonable, extreme, and merciless. Also, the part where Amir and his father ran from their motherland to America seems like saying that America is the best place for them to seek help and to build a new life, as if there is no other country near Afghanistan that can offer them as the US does. Well, it all depends on how you perceive things because as a quote said: “Nothing is worth reading that does not require an alert mind.” So a good reader will take what’s good and left what’s not.
Overall, I can say that the best persona of the book is the story itself (aside from the Taliban part). Maybe I rarely read novels, but I read short stories and watch a lot of movies. The story was extraordinary as it brought a simple theme but use a unique background and culture. Using a real current issue and event, the story seems real and poignant, yet it is so fresh; you had never heard something like it before.
“The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.”