…”Would I ever lie to you Amir agha?”
Suddenly I decided to toy with him a little. “I don’t know. Would you?”
“I would sooner eat dirt,” he said with a look of indignation.
“Really? You’d do that?”
He threw me a puzzled look. “Do what?”
“Eat dirt if I told you to,” I said. I knew I was being cruel; like when I’d taunt him if he didn’t know some big word. But there was something fascinating–albeit in a sick way –about teasing Hassan…
…”If you asked, I would,” he finally said, looking right at me. I dropped my eyes. to this day, I find it hard to gaze directly at people like Hassan, people who mean every word they say.
“But I wonder”, he added. “Would you ever ask me to do such a thing, Amir agha?”…..
….I wished I hadn’t started this conversation. I forced a smile. “Don’t be stupid, Hassan. You know I wouldn’t.”
Hassan returned the smile. Except his didn’t look forced. “I know,” he said. And thats the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too…..
This conversation probably sums up the whole book.
Hassan, is the ever loyal, innocent servant/friend of Amir. He is one person, Amir can trust his life on.
Amir, on the other hand is a dreamer. A boy not cut out for the dog-kill-dog world. A coward.
Amir, is witness to a horrible truth and he has two choices. The easy way out, that of avoiding the truth, deleting the object that reminded him of his cowardice from his life, or of accepting the truth and losing his whole way of life, falling in the eyes of his Baba. Amir takes the easy way out, but as the author says
…That was a long time ago, but 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…..
Amir gets a chance to redeem himself after 25 years….
The book is written at a quick pace, in a free flowing style and offers a great view of the Afgan lifestyle, Afgan culture (and Afgan cuisine!!)
Roughly the book can be cut into two halves. The first half describing Amirs childhood, is defnitely the better half.
The events of the childhood, the events that lead to the day that turns Amirs life upside down, the childish mischieves, the insecurities of Amir, the loyalty of Hassan, has been potrayed brilliantly and with honesty. You will shed silent tear drop ass you read the events that unfold after the kite competition.
Comparitively, the second phase of the book, Amirs redemption, lags in narration, the plot is not believable and the narration is repetitive and contrived. The author could well have finished the stoty earlier and the final 60-70 pages are a bore.
However, the books gives a good description of Afganisthan in the 60s-70s andd of the Taliban regime. Many small poignanat moments make the book a good read,
Finally, the author, Khaled Hosseini, writing his first novel, has used his words cleverly and imaginatively, coming up with some great lines, worth remembering and quoting, like
“Afganisthan today has a lot of children, but no childhood.” and “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything”.
All in all, it is not a book that will make you sit up and think, neither one that will make you cry nor laugh out loud, but, surely its a book whose taste will linger on, long after you have finished the book.
My rating: 7/10
PS: This is the first time, I’ve actually tried my hand at a book review. Please do comment on how goos/bad it was? Was it lengthy? Did I write a little too much about the story? Was I too critical or was I too linient?