THE BLOG

<i>The Kite Runner</i>, Khaled Hosseini

09/30/2011 10:13 EDT | Updated 11/30/2011 05:12 EST

In honour of Banned Books Week: the Huffington Post Canada and Indigo have teamed up to bring our readers' attention to books that have been banned or challenged, both in North America and around the world. Whatever your opinion, remember that in Canada you are free to read a book, judge it on its merits, and discuss it openly.

The story of a childhood friendship between two boys "is broken by the mounting ethnic, religious, and political tensions that begin to tear Afghanistan apart." This novel is no. 50 of the ALA's top 100 objected-to books in the last decade.

From Indigo.ca:"I sat on a bench near a willow tree and watched a pair of kites soaring in the sky. I thought about something Rahim Khan said just before he hung up, almost as an afterthought, 'There is a way to be good again.'"

Now in paperback, one of the year's international literary sensations -- a shattering story of betrayal and redemption set in war-torn Afghanistan.

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. Amir belongs to the ruling caste of Pashtuns, Hassan to the despised Hazaras.

This fragile idyll is broken by the mounting ethnic, religious, and political tensions that begin to tear Afghanistan apart. An unspeakable assault on Hassan by a gang of local boys tears the friends apart; Amir has witnessed his friend's torment, but is too afraid to intercede. Plunged into self-loathing, Amir conspires to have Hassan and his father turned out of the household.

When the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir and his father flee to San Francisco, leaving Hassan and his father to a pitiless fate. Only years later will Amir have an opportunity to redeem himself by returning to Afghanistan to begin to repay the debt long owed to the man who should have been his brother.

Compelling, heartrending, and etched with details of a history never before told in fiction, The Kite Runner is a story of the ways in which we're damned by our moral failures, and of the extravagant cost of redemption