A Guest Post by Alexandra George
It took me a shamefully long time to start reading The Kite Runner - the book came out in 2003, and I only read it this week. However, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.
The Kite Runner is a beautifully written story, about a young boy growing up in Afghanistan. Long days are spent playing with his servant: climbing trees, picking fruit, and participating in kite fighting tournaments. The first part of the book gives us a good picture of the life of an affluent family in pre-soviet Afghanistan - lavish parties, nice clothes and bicycles, travel, and education. From there, the story take us from the fall of Afghanistan's monarchy, through the Soviet military intervention, and finally to the rise of the Taliban regime.
More than anything, The Kite Runner is a tale of loyalty, guilt, and doing the right thing, set against the backdrop of a dramatically changing Afghanistan.
Did this book make me think about travel? Yes. But not in a "Wow, I can't wait to go to Afghanistan!" way. When I was in university, my father spent two years in Afghanistan, working with the United Nations on a disarmament program, encouraging militia fighters to go back to work, in an effort to stop the fighting. During this time, he suggested that I spend a few months on internship in Bamiyan. Things got in the way of that project, and I ended up going on a different trip. Now that I have read The Kite Runner, I am happy that the project didn't pan out - the book does a great job in describing the terrifying impact of the Taliban regime on the country and its citizens, and it did a great job convincing me that I do not want to go to Afghanistan - at least, not yet.
That being said, it is obvious from the first part of the book that Afghanistan is a wonderful place, filled with culture, history, and kind people. The various rehabilitation and disarmament projects that are currently taking place in this country make me hopeful that I will one day be able to visit.
Writer, photographer, and traveller, Allie George is a Third Culture Kid who feels most at home on the road. Her diverse travels include the Americas, Europe, and West and East Africa. She is currently based in British Columbia, Canada and is busy planning a two year round-the-world trip, with more than 40 stops.
You can see her pictures and follow her travels at Where's Alex.