What if you make the worst decision ever when you are only twelve years old and have to regret it all your life? It happened to the Afghan boy Amir, the main character of the book, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. Amir sees how his friend, who is actually also his half-brother, Hassan gets raped in an alley, but doesn’t help him at all. Growing up and being an adult he thinks back to this moment all the time. It is hard to empathize with his emotional pain, because what he did, or actually didn’t do is really awful, especially because Hassan was his best friend who always helped him out of trouble.
The kite runner is the first novel Khaled Housseini has written, it was published in 2003. The novel is partly autobiographical and partly made up. Khaled also left Afghanistan when he was a child to live in the United States and came back to see how it is in Afghanistan many years later, when the Taliban is ruling the country.
The horrible act that happened in the alley took place the same day Amir finally succeeded in earning his father’s love, which took so long because his father, Baba, is a totally different person than him. His father isn’t much there for Amir because Amir isn’t just exactly like him. He wants him to take over the business and carry on his imago, but Amir isn’t as generous and kind as his dad. Amir earned his father love by winning a big kite flying tournament, but then loses it slowly in the next years. By not being there for his son, because he is not exactly like him, Baba only makes him more into what he doesn’t want him to be, a coward who can’t stand up for himself.
In 2001, twenty-six years after the terrible incident, Amir gets back to Afghanistan to ‘be good again’. Rahim Khan, an old friend of his father, tells Amir he can be good again if he takes Sohrab, the son Hassan left to the world to a safe place. The job of Amir isn’t an easy one, he has to take Sohrab out of the hands of a Taliban fighter who took him out of the orphanage he came in after his parents were killed. Amir and his wife adopt Sohrab and Amir discovers he is just as bad as a person as his dad, because he isn’t being an empathetic fatherly figure for Sohrab just like Baba never was for him. Sohrab isn’t saying a word to anybody, he is really sad but when he and Amir go kite running they finally get some connection.
Jannes van Beek (V5C)