Selfishness, noun: the quality or condition of being selfish. Human beings are in fact the world’s most selfish creatures, always looking to make things easier for themselves rather than taking into consideration the feelings of other individuals. This specific characteristic is one of the motifs in this emotional novel written by Khaled Hosseini.
A young boy named Amir currently lives in Kabul, Afghanistan with his father, Baba, as well as his servants, Ali and Hassan (Ali’s son). Amir and Hassan spent most of their childhood together and became the best of friends, however since Hassan is a Hazara (an ethnic minority in the area at the time) their friendship was often kept behind closed doors. Even their private friendship was beginning to become tainted once Amir began to become jealous of Hassan since he believed Baba had a stronger love for Hassan, a servant, than Amir, his own son. This led Amir to begin treating Hassan like a true slave inside and outside his house, which eventually caused him to commit a grave crime. Due to the guilt of his crime, Amir decided to get Hassan kicked out of his house in order to lessen the weight of guilt on his shoulders.
Years pass and Amir and Baba have moved to America. Amir finds himself a wife and is living a fairly normal life, until one of Amir’s old friends Rahim Khan calls. He insists that Amir returns home in order to make up for the horrible deed committed years ago, to which Amir reluctantly agrees. Once home, Amir is met with grave news and discovers he must complete a task which will require him to set aside his selfishness and guilt in order to redeem himself.
This incredibly moving novel by Khaled Hosseini has won numerous awards as it focuses on the inner conflicts we, as individuals, often face on an everyday basis. It demonstrates the consequences of one’s selfish actions and how they can greatly impact those around us. However, it also shows how it is never too late to make up for your poor actions, no matter what happens in between. It is a definite must-read for individuals who want to get a better understanding of Afghanistan and its history, as well as life when the Taliban invaded the country and destroyed millions of lives within a few weeks.