On a Winter's day in 1975 Amir witnesses an awful act involving his childhood friend Hassan that will have unimaginable bearings on the rest of his life. Amir is the privaleged son of a rich and respected merchant in Afghanistan; Hassan is the son of his father's long-time servant Ali. Although from different ends of the spectrum, the boys share a childhood until the day that changes both of their lives forever.
There are so many themes running through Hosseini's book; friendship, childhood, loyalty, trust, cruelty and redemption are just a few. The author manages to vividly evoke the daily horror of Afghanistan under Taliban rule, especially when mirrored with the security of Amir's new life in San Francisco.
I had constantly put off reading this book as I was worried that all of the hype surrounding it would be unfounded. However, I have to say that this is one of the best books that I have read in such a long time. The Kite Runner is not a nice book, it explores the decisions we make in life and what it is that leads us to make different choices. Why does one person run whilst another stays to fight, however terrified? Hosseini has you gripped from the first page and there are many twists and turns along the way but I believe that the reader keeps turning the pages due to a sense of hope that Amir will find true redemption. As the book states:
'...there are bad people in this world, and sometimes bad people stay bad.'
The reader knows what Amir did on that Winter day was horrendous and in some ways unforgiveable but the actions he takes later in life ensures that he does not remain a bad person, a fate that befalls other characters in the book.