For you, a thousand times over.
Last year brought about changes that nobody had imagined would happen in their lifetimes. All the time everyone got at hand because of being locked inside their homes drove some crazy, and some shone brighter than ever. Other than these two, there was a third kind whose only struggle was to survive. Be it financial survival or mental, the demons weren’t physically visible to anyone else but the tormented, but their large presence was always felt by everyone around.
I belonged to this third kind. I struggled with my mental demons for the larger part of the year gone by. Although I read more than I had in the last few years and read more books that challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, I was yet to encounter that one book which marks the distinct leap a reader takes. From a judgemental reader to an empathetic reader. From being critical to being appreciative. And this book, my leap book, came to me at the end of the year.
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini has made me weep. It has made me weep for Hassans all around the world and it has made me weep for Amirs. It has made me weep for loveless childhood and it has made me weep for troubled souls. It has made me weep for the human suffering and it has made me weep for humanity. And most of all, it made me weep with understanding.
Amir and Hassan are inseparable, or as much they can be considering Amir is a Pashtun and Hassan, a Hazara. Like their fathers, they too are sharing their childhood. Unlike their fathers, they live in a time where one needs to save one’s neck all the time, especially if one is a subject of discrimination. But there is nothing Hassan wouldn’t do for Amir and there is nothing Amir wouldn’t do for his father’s love, who seems to have stopped loving him from the moment he was born and took away his beloved in the process.
With Hassan’s loyalty to Amir as strong as the Hindu Kush and Amir’s friendship as dubious as the future of their homeland, will the two boys survive the test that has been set for them?
Whatever I say, will not be enough. Lucid and quick, the writing takes over you like quicksand. Just a few pages in and you would know that this would be a masterpiece. No, not because others have said so, but because you will feel a pull that would make you read page after page after page until you come to the end and bawl your eyes out.
Khalid Hosseini is an artist. An artist who knows his juxtaposition and uses it to enchant. Amir and Hassan. Surrounding the story by the rugged beauty of Afghan terrain he lays bare the atrocities of the war. In the age of information overdose, he presents a shameful eye. Loyalty and integrity. Atheism and faith. Racial discrimination and friendship. The dark side of evil and the goodness of light, and between them, the lingering grey. The topics he touches on are far-reaching. The unspoken love of a brave father, the delusional son, the loyal servant, the victimized friend, the sadist tormentor, the affectionate uncle, the compassionate partner, and the lost soul.
As much as my heart aches for Hassan, I know he is a person one can hardly ever be in this world. And as much as I hate Amir for running away, I know most of us would have done the same. I thought I understand Hassan, but I recognize Amir. Being Amir is human, being Hassan is divine. Amir is me, you, and all of us. Hassan is what makes us human and keeps us on the right path of humanity.
There is nothing more I can write which will show how much impact this book has had on me. This is probably the only book to date which I have read and I can’t bring myself to review it. Such books are written once and read thousand times over, with each reading unfolding a layer that seemed to have missed the eye before. Such books are meant to be read in intimacy and to understand their meaning is the biggest gift of all. Such books find you and not the other way around. If this book has found you already, will you let me know your thoughts? If it hasn’t found you yet, I hope it does so soon.