Saturday, January 31, 2009

For you, a thousand times over

"The Kite Runner" is Khaled Hosseini first novel. Despite its enormous success it is decent and unassertive story of the simple, yet most fundamental human virtues of honour, friendship, faithfulness but also of shame, guilt and remorse.

It is a novel that teaches those simple and basic things that all religions teach; in some sense, teaches also about the importance of G-d in human life - but it is doing so in unobtrusive, I would say, humble way...

It is a story of two boys from Afghanistan. They lived in times of old, free Afghanistan, before Soviet invasion and Taliban regime. Amir, the narrator in the book experiences a kind of lesser acceptance from his father, until he becomes a local hero for his achievement in kite fighting. Hassan, his friend, and the son of Amir's father servant helped Amir in everything, including the kite ride, when Amir won. And for being that helpful, Hassan suffers the attack and abuse from local villain Assef - the attack witnessed by Amir, who, scared by the situation does not help Hassan.... This even leads to the break in their relation, with Amir, full of remorse, but unable to overcome his guilt. When, after many years, he becomes a successful US citizen, he realizes that his sin of his youth, the sin of not helping his best friend, puts a shadow on his life, so he returns to Afghanistan. Not able to receive forgiveness from Hassan, he finds his son Sohrab and saves him from oppression of Talibans, takes him to US and, in a single light smile after years of silence - gets some absolution the sin of his youth...

I write about this story in the shortest possible way, not to spoil it to future readers. The real plot is fascinating with many unexpected turns... However, at every moment of the novel plot, we find incredible human paradoxes intertwined with moments of life. The book is about simple things, simple sins that our life is full of. It shows, what happens to them, when they happen in history - particularly in troubled history of nations.

And it also shows, that until we do not understand that the problems are in us - not in THE OTHER - no reconciliation is possible...

As one poet expressed it: "Learn to love others - they pass away so fast" ...

It also teaches us not to wait with our attempts to receive forgiveness. Sometimes, the person whom you want to forgive you, passes away and you need to ask G-d and his descendents for it...

How hard it may work, hard in the deep, psychological way, was never better described than in "The Kite Runner"...

The greatness of this book, is from the fundamenta message, that the simple facts of our life bear the most significant truths of our life.

Read the passages:

"There is a way to be good again"

"There is no act more wretched than stealing"

"For you, a thousand times over"

"I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night"

Last but not least - the book is also beautifully written. Fantastic imagery of Afghanistan, Pakistan and California are long in my eyes after reading it. Certainly - one of the greatest books of my all life....

See also the interview with author, by Charles Rose.


  1. This is a really thoughtful and compelling reflection on this book. We cannot have real hope for a peaceful world if we cannot individually admit our wrongs and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with one another...yet...
    I'll read the book!

  2. Thank you for your thoughts on this book. I had initially ignored the hype surrounding this book -- however I think I will place this on my to-do pile of books. Thanks again for the "review".

  3. Yes, this book is worth reading, even being on to-do pile.

    The hype around it was fortunately far away from me - but I agree sometimes hype makes perception of really good books harder - we are just a bit suspicious :-)

    Good reading !