“It’s a sad story.”
“Sad stories make good books,” she said.
~The Kite Runner
I’ve had the honor, more than once, of being recommended a book that devasted the one who recommended it. It tore their heart out, stomped on it till it was broken beyond repair, and they came out, handed the book to me. The Kite Runner was one of these many.
I read it at an unlikely time. The O Level mocks were going on, and I was supposed to be studying all day. But nothing breaks the bleakness of routine better than a book.
I’ll try my best to not fill this with spoilers, because:
- I don’t want to, and
- If you haven’t read it, I don’t want to spoil it for you.
I try and imagine the situation in Kabul, around the time when they had to flee. It must have been something like that for the refugees who fled to and from India during the India-Pakistan split. That must’ve been the situation during, after and before the Liberation War in 1971. We, the kids of this generation have been spared the horrors of war.
I try to imagine myself as Amir, and I shudder when I realise that my choices would probably be the same as his. I feel cowardly when I do, but how far would we honestly be willing to go if we spent our whole lives bundled up in safety, just for the sake of friendship?
The Kite Runner is not an epic like LOTR. We don’t get a bunch of characters who embody all the different messages portrayed. But we do have a few characters who embody all of the lessons portrayed, and this brings me to wonder again, the way Eragon did, if knowledge that was narrow and deep was better than knowledge that was wide and shallow.
It is much more than just a story. It is much more than just tragedy and guilt and redemption. And to each one of us it means something different, but it embodies everything we know about childhoods lost and innocence murdered. It represents how unfair life seems, yet how beautiful it can be. If we just flew the kite the right way.
I ran. A grown man running with a swarm of screaming children. But I didn’t care. I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips.