When my cousin told me this book will make me cry, I knew then that I’d enjoy this. However, I did not expect to, not only enjoy this but to also, find myself, as cliche as that sounds. Khaled Hosseini spun a captivating tale of a boy and his friend growing up together amid a war within his nation and himself.
Amir is the persona recalling what his childhood was like and how he came to be. He’s a fortunate child raised by his widowed father and loved by the people around him. Despite having a stable and healthy life, he was envious of their servant’s son, Hassan. Hassan is known to be a Hazara while Amir, a Pashtun. Hazaras were treated to be so much lower than a Pashtun–ones who commanded the most power. During their time, both ethnic groups should not associate with one another. Regardless, Amir and Hassan were friends; they were inseparable.
Hassan, bless him, is pure, loyal to a fault. He says a line to Amir all the time when Amir asks him to do something: “For you a thousand times over.” And it truly reminds me of my grandfather. So courageous and kind. A soul so fragile and rare, it’s a wonder how you can have someone like him in your life. For being well-loved by the people around him as well, Amir yearns to be as much as regarded as Hassan was. Hence, when the opportunity presented itself, Amir took it and lost each other in the process.
I find it so mind-boggling when a line or phrase strikes you as if there’s some substance there you can’t quite grasp but it resonates with you. The line, “And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” hit me. I read it as a quote somewhere before and didn’t give it much thought but reading it in the context of the story, it felt like I was seeing a reflection of myself somehow. It almost felt like a pat on the back to let you know that they understand you. And so it goes–I was drawn in.
More lines that struck a chord:
“I wish I could be alone in my room, with my books, away from these people.”
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.”
“And in the end the question that always came back to me was this: How could I, of all people, chastise someone for their past?”
“‘Happiness like this is frightening.’ I asked her why and she said, ‘They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.'”
“But I hope you will heed this: A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer.”
“And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir Jan, when guilt leads to good.”
“What had I done, other than take my guilt out on the very same people I had betrayed, and then try to forget it all? What had I done, other than become an insomniac?”
There were parts in the book that are too coincidental for it to be a reality. Then again, who is to say that it can’t happen? I’ve had plenty of coincidences–sometimes the world is just smaller than we think.
Hosseini splendidly crafted a moving plot yet there were moments when I felt that it would have been better if he let the characters breathe life into the story rather than manipulating them as to how he would like the story go. For instance, Amir was away from his wife for a month and he didn’t call even though he previously stated multiple times that he missed her. There was no mention that the character cannot call or anything and that’s odd to me since there is always something new mentioned. Maybe it’s just me but I figured that the little things that make up someone, as real as they can be, count.
Nonetheless, I find all the characters and the setting so charming. Tangible. Close to being raw. I was weeping and yet I couldn’t imagine the pain–what it really was in reality. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know much about the history of Afghans but I wish to learn more, and from this, I got a taste of it.