Amir and Hassan are childhood friends in the alleys and orchards of Kabul in the sunny days before the invasion of the Soviet army and Afghanistan’s decent into fanaticism. Both motherless, they grow up as close as brothers, but their fates, they know, are to be different. Amir’s father is a wealthy merchant; Hassan’s father is his manservant. When the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir and his father flee to San Francisco, leaving Hassan and his father to a pitiless fate. Those are the bare bones of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, but the story hinges on one character's need for redemption.
UPDATE (6-14-08): Wendy said, "I just finished reading The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It is an impressive first novel which reveals the horror of what has happened, and continues to happen in Afganistan. My review can be found here."
Bonnie: "Continues to happen" is such an apt phrase, coming as it does one day after the violence in Afghanistan that occurred during an escape from Sarposa Prison in Kandahar province, the Taliban's former stronghold. An Associated Press article says:
... dozens of militants on motorbikes attacked the facility late Friday. Seven police and several prisoners died in the assault ... One suicide bomber detonated a tanker truck full of explosives at the prison gate while a second bomber blasted another escape route through a back wall. Rockets fired from inside the prison's courtyard collapsed an upper floor. The police chief of Kandahar province, Sayed Agha Saqib, said 390 Taliban prisoners were among the 870 inmates who escaped.