Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Kite Runner

Cover - The Kite RunnerThere are writers and there are good storytellers. But, seldom you find a writer who is also a good storyteller. Khaled Hosseini is that rare breed of writers. With ‘The Kite Runner’ he has created a masterpiece, one that will move even the stone-hearted. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years now and translated into 42 different languages. Unfortunately it took a while to lay my hands on a copy.

The plot revolves around Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US. The novel is a touching account of a friendship that goes beyond tribe and colour. The story of Amir the Pashtun flying kites with Hassan the Hazara, whom he ultimately betrays in a different way. It is the story of a war-torned region that forced many Afghans to leave behind their life earnings to move out of the country. It is also the story of a country’s stunning transformation from one that revelled in kite flying tournaments to one that flogged women in public if not modestly dressed. Hosseini has woven stories within the story to make it an entertaining read. His characters breathe life. At times you could actually feel the story as it happens.

The book also touches upon the plight of the hazara tribes in Afghanistan. How they are looked upon as lowly creatures by their own fellow countrymen. The coming of Taliban spelt doom for this tribe and Hosseini minced no words in highlighting this.

The author captures a rare beauty of Afghanistan as seen by his protogonist Amir. And why not, Hosseini was born in Kabul but the poilitical situation forced his family to seek asylum in US. It’s his longing for the Afghanistan of his childhood that reflects in his writing.

“The streets glistened with fresh snow and the sky was a blameless blue. Snow blanketed every rooftop and weighed on the branches of the stunted mulberry trees that lined our street. Over-night, snow had nudged its way into every crack and gutter.”

‘The Kite Runner’ is all about the pain of leaving one’s homeland, rediscovering our true selves, and a hope for a better tomorrow. The message is simple, ‘it’s never too late to start!’

And there’s no way you can’t but admire Khalid Hosseini as a storyteller. Read it!

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