The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner, the debut novel by Afghani-born physician and author Khaled Hosseini, has been on best-seller and book club lists for nearly a year. Writer Isabel Allende says the book — about a young man who returns to Afghanistan after a long absence — is "one of those unforgettable stories that stays with you for years." (NPR radio station)
I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.
One day last summer, my friend Rahim Khan called from Pakistan. He asked me to come see him. Standing in the kitchen with the receiver to my ear, I knew it wasn’t just Rahim Khan on the line. It was my past of unatoned sins. After I hung up, I went for a walk along Spreckels Lake on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park. The early-afternoon sun sparkled on the water where dozens of miniature boats sailed, propelled by a crisp breeze. Then I glanced up and saw a pair of kites, red with long blue tails, soaring in the sky. They danced high above the trees on the west end of the park, over the windmills, floating side by side like a pair of eyes looking down on San Francisco, the city I now call home. And suddenly Hassan’s voice whispered in my head: _For you, a thousand times over_. Hassan the harelipped kite runner.
I sat on a park bench near a willow tree. I thought about something Rahim Khan said just before he hung up, almost as an after thought. _There is a way to be good again_. I looked up at those twin kites. I thought about Hassan. Thought about Baba. Ali. Kabul. I thought of the life I had lived until the winter of 1975 came and changed everything. And made me what I am today.
- frigid - an adjective: extremely cold, unfriendly,
- crouch - a verb, to bend your knees and lower yourself so that you are close to the ground and leaning forward slightly
- crumble - a verb, to break, or cause something to break, into small pieces
- claw - a verb, to use claws to tear something or someone
- atone for sth - to do something that shows that you are sorry for something bad that you did, unatoned -- an opposite, an adjective
- propel - a verb, to push or move something somewhere, often with a lot of force
- harelipped - old fashion used of: cleft lip - an upper lip which does not join in the middle because it did not develop normally before birth