This book came to me about recently, not more than two months ago, in a very strange way. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. It touched me deeply in ways I do not understand. I want to share my synopsis and want to hear if anyone else sees it in the same way? It's complex book with many topics but this is how I saw it. I hope it's not too long. I am not so happy with the end result and wish I could write it better but it's difficult for me. I cry every time I write or even edit anything.
THE KITE RUNNER
by Khaled Hosseini (c) 2003, Bloomsbury
A story of two boys growing up in Afghanistan in the 60's/70's and the impact in their lives of the Soviet invasion followed by the rise of the Taliban.
Amir, the son of a rich successful businessman, feels he cannot be the son his father wants. He is jealous of his servant Hassan, a boy who is one year younger, brave, athletic and the type of boy his father admires.
The boys are inseparable and even though they belong to different castes, there is a strong bond between them.
One day, Amir is competing in a kite flying contest, an old tradition in his country. Part of the tradition is running to rescue the fallen kites. Amir wins the contest and as his kite falls to the ground, Hassan promises Amir that he will get the kite for him. Amir follows Hassan, but he cannot run as fast as him. When he finally finds him, he discovers that some boys have cornered Hassan and are trying to take the kite away from him. Hassan will not give the kite as he has promised Amir that he'd bring it for him.
Amir witnesses Hassan being raped by other boys and has to live with the guilt of of this horrific event for many years. This marks the beginning of the end of their friendship. Eventually, Hassan and his father move away and Amir and Hasan never see each other again.
As the story unfolds, we find Amir at 40 years old, married and living in the United States. He is a successful writer living the American dream. One day, he receives news from an old family friend who is now living in Pakistan. Amir flies to Pakistan to meet with him and finds out that his old friend Hassan is now dead, killed by the Taliban while fulfilling his duty as loyal servant to Amir's family.
He also finds out that Hassan is his half brother.
Hassan's son, Sohrab, is living in an orphanage. Amir decides to rescue him and find a better life for him. When he finally finds the orphanage, Amir discovers that Sohrab has been taken away by Taliban fighters who use him for their pleasure.
In my eyes, this story is an allegory of a man coming to terms with his own experience as a victim of sexual abuse.
When he confronts the Taliban fighters, Amir realizes these men are the same boys that had raped Hassan many years ago. The child must confront his abusers. The man must face his own demons.
Going back to his home country represents looking back into his childhood. His life before the incident, though not perfect, is painted as a happy childhood, in a beautiful home with loving people. After the incident it all goes away. When he goes back, he finds a place he does not recognize. Torn by war, devastated. Is this what the soul looks like after being raped? It's ugly but he must go back.
Hassan and Amir are the same person. A dissociation to deal with a traumatic event. Amir witnesses Hassan's rape. His own rape.
Amir rescues Sohrab, and brings him to America. But this is not a happy ending. Sohrab is traumatized and even tries to kill himself. Amir's wife tries to reach to him but eventually gives up as the boy is distant and unresponsive.
I think Sohrab represents the boy inside Amir. Initially, his wife supports him but eventually intimacy issues create problems in their relationship and she seems to give up. I think their marriage is represented by Amir's wife relationship with Sohrab. They don't speak. He avoids looking at her in the eye. She was supportive of her husband in the beginning but now she has given up.
In the end, Amir is showing Sohrab how to fly a kite like he used to when he was a young child. Before he was raped. And he is finally able to see a smile in Sohrab. He is reaching to the boy inside of him, the beginning of a his own path to healing.
Prince Zuko: [looking at a map] How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
Sokka: [cut to him, looking at the same map] You have no idea where you're going, do you?