Hassan and Amir, two boys living together in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir is the son of the master and Hassan, son of the servant. Amir goes to school while Hassan does his chores at home. After returning from school, Amir reads stories to Hassan. He will play with Hassan only when his other friends are not with him. Something holds him from recognizing Hassan as his friend in public.
Hassan is a small quiet boy, who adores Amir. He considers him his friend and could even give his life for him.
His words, “For you, a thousand times over….“, has stuck with me.
They form a formidable team for the neighborhood kite competition. Amir wants to win this one to make his father proud.
The day of the competition arrives. Amir achieves success in cutting all the kites present in the sky until only his remains. Only one more step and he will win – to capture the last fallen kite. He signals Hassan, who runs for the last kite.
When Hassan doesn’t come back for a long time, Amir follows his trail. The sight of Hassan cornered in an alley by three local bullies stops him in his tracks.
These boys are waiting for him. They want to take revenge. Since he is nowhere near, they exact their revenge on Hassan. Amir stands rooted to his spot and witnesses Hassan’s torture. His failure, his cowardice, stays with him for a long time. He never forgives himself.
This day begins the end of Amir and Hassan’s friendship. Unable to bear Hassan’s presence, Amir successfully stages a burglary to get them evicted.
Amir and his father emigrate to America.
Amir is a novelist with a few books in publication. He has a beautiful wife. But has lost his father to cancer. One day he receives a call from his uncle from Pakistan, who is dying and wants to meet him one last time.
His uncle says, “There is a way to be good again….“. Amir understands what his uncle means.
He travels to Pakistan and meets his uncle. They talk about the past and reminisce about the old Afghanistan. The uncle then gives him Hassan’s letter. He shares with him that Hassan has been serving him from past several years. He also shares that Hassan always asked about him and wanted to meet him.
When Amir has read the letter and seen Hassan and his son in the photograph, uncle discloses that Hassan and his wife are dead. And their son is roaming the streets of Kabul as an orphan. He then requests Amir to save the child. Doing this one brave act might make Amir forgive himself for his past mistake.
Now Amir has two choices – to brave entering Afghanistan and save the child or to forget everything and go back to his peaceful American life.
The choice would change everything………………
One of the best novels, I read last year. I would give it 4/5 star.
The summary says it all for me. Most of the time I forget novels in a month or two. Very few stories stick in my mind. And this one sure did. I can still remember exactly what happened when in the story.
The overall feel of the novel is like I am listening to a biography. But surely it isn’t. The writing is powerful. I could visualize and feel the emotions the characters were feeling. The horror when Hassan was tortured or the hope which Amir felt in the below lines –
It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting. – Khaled Hosseini
The reviews weren’t that good for this book. And I am glad I didn’t pass it up.
I recommend this one, to at least read once. You might enjoy it!
Some of my favorite quotes from the book –
When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. – Khaled Hosseini
It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. – Khaled Hosseini
One time, when I was very little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum, it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I’d just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn’t have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples. – Khaled Hosseini