"The Kite Runner" by Khalid Hosseini spent over two years on the New York Times bestseller list, and has been published in 42 different languages.
The story is about two Afghan boys, Amir, who belongs to a rich and affluent family and his servant boy Hassan who belongs to the ethnic minority Hazara. The novel explores the relationship between these two boys and how Amir's cowardice and Hassan's devotion to his master help shape their destiny.
Amir's father is disappointed in his only son who shows no interest in soccer and buzkushi, two sports all Afghans are crazy about. Amir is also jealous of Hassan's innate courage and the special place Hassan holds in his Baba's heart. To win his father's approval, Amir vows to win a local kite flying tournament and asks for Hassan's help.
After their victory, Amir witnesses a brutal crime being inflicted upon Hassan. He chooses not to intervene so as to avoid getting hurt. This incident changes him forever. He makes repeated attempts to banish Hassan from his life in a bid to escape guilt but memories of Hassan's loyalty refuse to let go.
After 26 years of guilt and insomnia, Amir finally has a chance to redeem himself and save Hassan's son from a fate similar to that of his father.
This novel explores friendship, betrayal, guilt and love like no other work of fiction. It describes the rich traditions, the multi-ethnic culture and the beauty of a land that is in the process of being destroyed brutally.
It is a book that will make you misty eyed and bring a lump to your throat. Full of vivid images, honest emotions and brutal descriptions, Hosseini has made sure that his readers understand his love for his homeland and feel his pain to see its devastation.
At the same time, the book is laced with hope and optimism. "For you a thousand times over" is a beautiful refrain in the book to encompass loyalty and friendship and willingness to sacrifice all for its sake.
I did not find the two other books by Khalid Hosseini as inspiring as "The Kite Runner". This is a book that should be read at least once in a lifetime.
Final Verdict: A compelling book that is hard to put down.