Set in Afghanistan, this book follows the story of Amir -the son of an affluent businessman, and Hassan -the son of his father’s servant. The two boys are motherless and nearly the same age. Behind the walls of Amir’s house, they play and laugh together -but always with the understanding that Amir is top dog. This relationship eventually leads to a betrayal that takes Amir a lifetime to recover from. The title of the book comes from the annual kite tournament in Kabul, where the strings of kites are coated with ground glass and used to cut through the strings of competing kites. The kiterunners are the boys who dash to retrieve the loosened kites and display them in their homes until the following year’s tournament.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Horrible things happen in this book -events made more ghastly because you know that they are based in reality. The character of Amir is difficult to like and yet so human and moving. The revelations in the latter part of the book make you want to go back and revisit the earlier scenes. How could Amir’s father and Hassan’s father have reacted in the ways they do? The book was also a fascinating glimpse into the pre-Taliban Afghan culture. The descriptions of orange peels on the fire, playing cards outdoors in the snow with legs tucked under a heated blanket, and Iranian dubbed westerns are evocative of a cosy yet unfamiliar childhood. This book is highly recommended, but not for the squeamish.