Book Review: The Kite Runner

For some people, novels are just stories with sad or happy ending. For me, novels are an exploration of people I have never met before, places I have never visited, thoughts I have never thought about. When I read a novel, I live the story as if it is happening in front of my eyes. I let myself express its emotion and its thoughts freely. I smell the words and I walk into the imaginary places.

Sometimes, I find it difficult to create a distance between my reality and my imagination, especially after I finish reading the novel.  Kite Runner is one of the novel that tremendously impacted me. It is one of the best novel I read in 2010. It is a story of two young boys, Amir and Hassan in the district of Kabul before Taliban and after Taliban took over.  The story gets really sad in the last four chapters and it shows you the misery of other people, and the complexity of their lives. I highlighted the parts of the novel that got my attention and they are:

  • “When you kill a man, you steal a life” Baba said. “You steal his wife’s right to be husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?
  • Never mind any of those things. Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion.In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.
  • Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
  • Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.
  • The only thing that flowed more than tea in those aisles was Afghan gossip. The flea market was where you sipped green tea with almond Kolchas, and learned whose daughter had broken off an engagement and run off with her American boyfriend, who used to be Parchami, a communist, in Kabul, and who had bought a house with under the table money while still on welfare.
  • Tea, Politics, and Scandal, the ingredients of an Afghan Sunday at the flea market.
  • For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Babe, a place to mourn his.
  • I was fully aware of the Afghan double standard that favored my gender. Not did you see him chatting with her? but Woooy! Did you see how she wouldn’t let him go? What a lochak!
  • I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it is wrong what they say about the past, I have learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
  • Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.
  • If America taught me anything, it’s that quitting is right up there with pissing in the Girl Scouts’ lemonade jar.
  • One time, when I was really little, I climbed a tree and ate these green, sour apples. My stomach swelled and became hard like a drum, it hurt a lot. Mother said that if I’d just waited for the apples to ripen, I wouldn’t have become sick. So now, whenever I really want something, I try to remember what she said about the apples.
  • With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.
  • Later that night, the sun less than an hour from rising and the guests finally gone, Soraya and I lay together for the first time. All my life, I’d been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman.
  • Their sons go out to nightclubs looking for meat and get their girl friends pregnant, they have kids out of wedlock and no one says a god damn thing. Oh, they’re just men having fun! I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking nang and namoos, and I have to have my face rubbed in it for the rest of my life. Said Soraya
  • She lived to see him turn four, and then, one morning, she just did not wake up. She looked calm, at peace, like she did not mind dying now. We buried her in the cemetery on the hill, the one by the pomegranate tree, and I said a prayer for her too. The loss was hard on Hassan, it always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place.
  • After all, life is not a Hindi movie. Zendagi migzara, Afghans like to say: Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end,, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan of Kochis.