THE KITE RUNNER
Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner is the first Afghan novel to be written in English. Hosseini gives us a story about fathers and sons, about friends and brothers, about the wealthy and the poor and about betrayal, tragedy and redemption.
The story, taking place over a period of thirty years, draws us into the turbulent history of Afghanistan as it draws us into the lives of Amir who is Sunni and Hassan who is Shi'a.
The title of the book comes from the traditional tournament for Afghan children in which kite-flyers compete by cutting the kite-strings of their opponents with their own razor-sharp, glass-coated strings. To be the one who wins the tournament by downing all the other kites -- and to be the "runner" who chases down the last losing kite as it falls to the earth -- becomes the city champion.
Hosseini guides us into the Afghan culture without either losing us or overwhelming us. The part of our world that broke into national American consciousness through terrorism, the Taliban, and war is made human and vulnerable and respected. We walk for a time in Afghan shoes, live in Kabul, hear the children, taste the food, run for our lives, visit Pakistan and come to America...and return on a passionate mission in very dangerous circumstances.
A good summer novel if you're looking for one.