I really don't know why I picked up this book to read; it's not my usual style. I bought it for a dollar off the library's sale table -- and I'm glad I did.
Set in Afghanistan's recent history, from the 1960s to the early 2000s, The Kite Runner is the story of Amir, a privileged young man whose greatest desire in life is to please his successful, athletic father. As this leads to an deep division between 12-year-old Amir and his best friend and servant Hassan, and as the tumultuous political climate of Afghanistan drives Amir and his father to America years later, the adult Amir is forced into a life of courage and selfless love -- ways he has never chosen to act before.
The New York Times Book Review calls this book both "haunting" and "powerful," according to the front cover of my copy. For once, The New York Times is dead on. Hosseini's subject is painful, excruciating even, and he does not flinch from portraying the hurt of his people. He also does not flinch from a deeper theme of redemption. Instead of taking the easy and obvious path to hoplessness and self-pity, Hosseini, like Amir, chooses to write with courage, to take his story to a place of redemption. Though Amir has lived a life in the shadow of his father, a life of depending on others to fight his battles and take care of him, he is given a chance to fix what he destoyed at age twelve. He is given one chance, one phone call, one opportunity -- and he takes it, though it leads him to terrifying situations and places, he does not shirk from the duty he is called to. A boy of fear and hatred becomes a man of courage and love.
Equally moving to my heart was Hosseini's portrayal of the Afghani people. I am an American and a Christian, and I have never given a thought to the pain of Afghanistan. I have never given a thought to their suffering, their poverty, their humiliation and fear at the hands of the Taliban. God forgive me for my selfishness, for not loving my fellow man.