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As a self-professed bookworm, it’s rather embarrassing to admit that it has been a struggle to recapture that passion I once had. That need to devour a book in one sitting, buried under blankets and running under the sun of another world. And I’m grateful that the book I picked to reignite that fire was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

“For you, a thousand times over.” -Hassan

Photo: Amazon.co.uk

Despite having only written three novels since his debut in 2003, Khaled Hosseini’s works have captured the world over, and I’m rather regretful that I’ve only just discovered him on a short flight to Jakarta for vacation late last year. The Kite Runner was an incredibly intimate look at the lives of Afghans in 1975, and the turmoil that it faced in the event of a political crisis that eventually led the nation to be under the Taliban rule. Hosseini effortlessly brings the reader along to witness the lives of the protagonist, Amir, and his friend, Hassan, and later on Hassan’s son, Sohrab as they grapple with the too-quickly changing environment and circumstances bigger than themselves.

“You’re a prince, Hassan. You’re a prince and I love you.” -Amir

The Kite Runner deals with taboo issues like child rape and sex trafficking as well as the devastating effects they have on everyone involved, directly or otherwise, in a manner that is somewhat detached, but still feels all too real in the poignant details Hosseini shares. Amir and Hassan, who are particularly affected in their intertwined childhoods, handle them in different ways that aren’t particularly innocent or evil; merely human and with too little life experience as twelve-year-olds. Even as an adult, Amir lives with the burden of his decision as a child and endeavours to eradicate the shame and guilt by rescuing Sohrab, in a way that he couldn’t rescue Hassan once.

“Because when spring comes, it melts the snow flake one at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.” -Amir

What kept me reading The Kite Runner, more than the intriguing and surreal past of a land I know so little of, is how much the characters drew me to them. From Amir, who may not be as likeable as Hassan’s eternal cheerfulness, but resonates with us in his humanity, to Farid, the crotchety but loyal taxi driver with a poor family rich in hospitality. It is incredible to see myself in parts of many of the characters, and that allowed me to be a little more understanding of Amir’s fear, of Hassan’s unwavering love, of Sohrab’s detachment with the idea of living.

The Kite Runner may have debuted 14 years ago, but it is timeless in the way the story unfolds and captures the essence of humanity; from a place of light within us to the darkness that continuously threatens to devour that light. It is a book that enlightens and entertains all at once, and is impossible to remain indifferent to its charm of love and hope.