04 January 2008

Boys who follow the wind

I read The Kite Runner recently by Khaled Hosseini. Melanie Klein would have had a field day with this one's themes of guilt and reparation, and throughout the book I reflected on her philosophy of child development and how that was represented by the characters in Hosseini's moving story. In brief, two children of different social classes are playmates; and as the higher-classed child is exposed to his peer's derision, he begins to abandon his first friend. As this process of separation is going on, and during what should have been one of the finest moments of his childhood, his friend is attacked and he takes no action to stop it. From victory, he snatches bitter defeat. For many years after he is haunted with shame and regret over his actions; then he is finally provided the chance to redeem himself. But the task given is much harder; the bill of guilt has come due with interest. I was captivated by the story, the view into Afghanistan of years past, and hopeful for the hero's triumph. I recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy seeing a triumph of hope over bitterness and self-recrimination.

Hosseini recently had a Newsweek Article titled Don’t Give Up on Afghanistan which is a good read as well, for providing context in the rich complexity of this region and for the monumental task the Afghanistani people have ahead of themselves.