I have finished reading this book and though, the ending is quite happy, I am still left with a haunting feeling. The characters are unforgettable, the scenery (pre-Russian occupation and pre-Taliban) evokes childhood nostalgia (kite running was our passion too), and the story - sad and sentimental. The political transformations of Afghanistan are shown to be affecting the lives of its people and amidst the turmoil, little stories of families, of parents and children, of friendships, loyalty, betrayals and cruelty are told in this book.
The main story is about two boys, Amir and Hassan who are very good friends at the start. The story grows into a complicated web when Hassan (the Hazara child and the one who runs for the fallen kites) is harmed and Amir is unable to save him. We know that Hassan would unhesitatingly defend his friend anytime but it can not be said of Amir - who was the pampered one. I disliked the child rape event but was quite comforted by the characters being fictional. You would not want a dear child like Hassan (or Sohrab or any child) be forever victims of people's travesty and inhumanity. Soon, Amir would find a way to totally forget Hassan and his own helplessness by planting evidence that would incriminate Hassan. But, as in some wounds, there is no healing and no escape. The ghost of Hassan (pure, heroic and forgiving) comes at varied times and beckons - because after all, Hassan is Amir's own blood.
The Kite Runner is a story of a proud father (Baba) and his sons, of lords and servants, of an indiscretion (Baba's adultery with his best friend's wife) and a secret (Hassan is his illegitimate son). It tells of cowardice and also of bravery and redemption. At the end - and albeit, a little too late, Amir is able to redeem himself - by saving Hassan's son, Sohrab, from the clutches of torturers and rapists. In fiction as in real life, "there is a way to be good again".