by Dr. D ~
By Khalid Hosseini (New York: Riverhead Books -Penguin Group, 2003, 271 pages)
The story starts with a phone call taken by a young man with an old family friend on the other end telling him that he needs to come back to the Middle East and care of some family business. Then the story line flashes back 20 years and in the process the author gives us an interesting taste and view of old Afghanistan before the Russians, the Taliban, and nearly 20 years of war.
It is the story of two boys, Amir and Hassan, that are friends until a tragic event changes their relationship forever. The boys had just won a kite tournament in Kabul and in the midst of their celebration, one boy, Hassan, is cruelly attacked while the other, Amir, shrinks from helping his friend.
Soon events overtake them all and separate the friends forever, as Russian tanks come rolling into Kabul and Amir and his father run for their lives and escape to America.
20 years pass, and we now find Amir in America as a grown man within the Afghan expatriate community. Amir finds a young lady that he is interested in, however her father was a former general who does not seem to favor Amir. Amir’s father is now dying of cancer but gets out of bed and goes to the general and somehow arranges for the marriage Afghani style.
Soon the father passes on, but we now see that Amir and his wife have established a happy home. Then the phone rings.
We follow Amir back to Afghanistan and experience the dark cruelty of the Taliban regime. Amir discovers that Hassan has been killed by the authorities but has a son. His fathers old friend informs Amir of a surprising family secret and he sets out to find Hassan’s son.
This ends up being a tale of redemption as Amir makes up for his earlier treatment of Hassan by risking his own life and health in rescuing Hassan’s son and finally bringing him back to America and a new home. There are a number of twists and turns in the story with some sad consequences. The story seems to want to be ‘a happy ever after tale’ but it has a dose of reality that only leaves the reader with a little hope for the future. Nevertheless, an incredible tale with all sorts of lessons for real living. *Top