“Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to gain the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend, Hassan promises to help him – for he always helps Amir – but this is 1970’s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father’s heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.”
Don’t remember how I got my hands on this book, but I distinctly remember finding it excellent. It was the book that changed the books I read; since then I have been fascinated with historical and political fiction based in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan (and various other Middle Eastern nations) and India. It was such a vibrant and compelling story that swept me along through an intriguing and enlightening cultural experience. The tale is an honest and tragic one, simply devastating in parts. It keeps you asking questions, big ones about loyalty, heroism, redemption, forgiveness and guilt.
Again, some heavy issues and moderate violence, recommended for ages 16 and up. 4 1/2 stars.