Today is the 17th anniversary of the publication of ‘The Kite Runner,’ by Khaled Hosseini, and its’ themes still resonate throughout the world. Set in Afghanistan spanning multiple decades, it tells the story of a Pashtun boy, Amir and his Hazara friend Hassan. Hazara are an ethnic minority compared to the Pashtun, and due to Hassan’s status as this, and his position as a servant to Amir’s family, he is a target for abuse, especially by the sadistic Assef. After a traumatic incident, Amir and Hassan part ways, with Amir facing tremendous guilt. But even after all that, there might still be a way to right the wrongs of the past.
I remember reading this in high school with tears in my eyes at how utterly human Hosseini writes the characters. It is probably the rawest description of guilt, forgiveness, and redemption. Despite this being a primarily Afghan story, its themes are quite universal.
“Because its themes of friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption and the uneasy love between fathers and sons are universal themes, and not specifically Afghan,” he [Hosseini] says, “the book has been able to reach across cultural, racial, religious and gender gaps to resonate with readers of varying backgrounds.”
There are plenty of hard-to-read scenes that can put off some people, but reading the whole book paints a portrait of life that depicts the good and the bad. Even 17 years later, ‘The Kite Runner’ is an essential read.