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Do you know which is the favorite game for the children in Afghanistan? The kite race. Afghan kites are different. The string is coated with a specific mixture so that when it gets tangled with another one, it can cut it. When this happens, everyone rushes to catch the kite. Whoever finds it – on the ground, in the branches of a tree, wherever – has the right to keep it. These kites are precious because they take a lot of time and work to make. And because they are beautiful.
When the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, one of the first things they banned was kites. They blamed the kites for distracting young boys from prayers and other religious duties. And so, the Afghan kite appears to have been brought down to earth with its string cut.
If that leaves you sad, wait to see the emotions that will flood you once you read The Kite Runner. The story of a young boy, Amir, struggling to form a deeper connection with his father and coping with memories of a traumatic childhood event. The novel traces historical events in Afghanistan’s history as well as the difficult journey of Afghan refugees. A harrowing story about relationships, betrayal, guilt, redemption, which will tear you up.
The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, to a diplomat father, Hosseini lived in Iran and France. When Hosseini was 15, his family applied for asylum in the United States, where he later became a naturalized citizen. Like the protagonist in The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini returned to Afghanistan later in his life. He is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation.
Hosseini’s second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is also set in Afghanistan. The story addresses many of the same issues as his first book, but from a female perspective. It follows the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, whose lives become entwined when Mariam’s husband takes on Laila as a second wife.
Khaled Hosseini’s stories about parents and children, siblings, cousins, and friends show the countless situations when we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us at fateful moments. Or how members of family support, hurt, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another. As he follows the characters through the twists of their lives and emotions in different parts of the world, the stories gradually branch out, grow, become more exciting and powerful with each page.