After reading Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into his second book and I wasn’t disappointed. The story starts in the 1970s where Amir is desperate to gain the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite fighting tournament. His loyal friend Hassan, who is merely a low-caste servant, helps him. Amir is jealous of Hassan’s natural courage and the special regard his father has for him. Despite this they share a very special friendship until the afternoon of the tournament.
The book then takes Amir and his father to the United States to escape the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Amir adjusts to the new country better than his father who wants to keep to the old ways. Many years later, the tranquillity of Amir''s life is unexpectedly shaken when a dying friend, Rahim Khan, asks Amir to visit him in Pakistan. What Rahim Khan has to say will forever change Amir''s life and he is given the opportunity to atone and gain redemption.
It is a very powerful story with excellent descriptions of character, scenes and events. At times it almost felt like an autobiography. It is one of those books where you must keep turning the pages to find out what happens next and the characters live with you for a long time afterwards. I will be lending it to other people but will certainly want it returned as I would like to read it again, at a slower pace in order to savour the atmosphere.