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The Kite Runner graphic novel by Khalid Hosseni pdf

The Kite Runner graphic novel by Khalid Hosseni pdf



The Kite Runner graphic novel - Khalid Hosseni . pdf

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    The Kite Runner graphic novel by Khalid Hosseni pdf The Kite Runner graphic novel by Khalid Hosseni pdf Document Transcript

    • Qwerty on KAT for more Khaled Hosseini THE KITE RUNNER Graphic Novel Illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo RIVERHEAD BOOKS New York
    • Qwerty on KAT for more
    • Qwerty on KAT for more Khaled Hosseini THE KITE RUNNER Graphic Novel
    • Qwerty on KAT for more Khaled Hosseini THE KITE RUNNER Graphic Novel Illustrated by Fabio Celoni and Mirka Andolfo RIVERHEAD BOOKS New York
    • RIVERHEAD BOOKSPublished by the Penguin GroupPenguin Group (USA) Inc.375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USAPenguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, IndiaPenguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, EnglandThis is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’simagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.Copyright © 2011 by Khaled and Roya Hosseini Family Charitable Remainder UnitrustConcept and artwork copyright © 2011 by Edizioni Piemme S.p.A., ItalyIllustrations: Fabio Celoni (ink) and Mirka Andolfo (color)Lettering: Paola Cannatella Script: Tommaso Valsecchi (based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini)Art direction: Roberta BianchiProject supervision: Linda KleinefeldAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.RIVERHEAD is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. The RIVERHEAD logo is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.ISBN: 978-1-101-54677-2
    • San Francisco. Summer 2001. Yes, hello? Rahim Khan… it’s really you! Amir jan? 5
    • Who was it on the phone, dear? I have To Pakistan? to go to B-but… how? Pakistan. Why? And I have to when… ?! go back home. My wife, Soraya, continued speaking, but by then I was no longer listening. The last thing Rahim Khan had said was echoing in my head: There is a way to be good again. “Right… there really is a way to be good again… but how?”6
    • Kabul, early 1970s. Ha, ha, ha! Did you see the face they made when you cut their kite, Amir agha?! Right… and what about when you were first to realize where it would fall? They couldn’t believe their eyes! I’m serious, Amir I think you agha, with the right could be the kite, you could one to win the wi­ huh? kite tournament this year! Don’t be silly Hassan! , Omar’s the best… He’s going to win! Hey you! I , know you! You! TheHazara! I knew your mother, do you know that? Yeah… all of us knew her, real good… We took her by that creek over there! Ha, ha, ha! 7
    • Mmmm… she showed us all a good time… ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Hassan, come on, let’s go. Hassan, let’s go… Hey where , are you going? Come back, Flat- Nose! We still have lots more to tell you! I’m sure he made a mistake. He took you for someone else. That’s it: he took you for someone else. And why Amir, you … Tashakor. should I ever know I would do Thank you. Let’s go ask you to do anything for you, back home something like right? Even walk now. that? on fire, if you asked me.8
    • Oh, please, my friend… this is foolishness and even you know it! You keep writing checks for that You orphanage and think it’s never even noticefoolishness that half of that to build an money ends up in orphanage the pockets of in Kabul, bureaucrats and Rahim? politicians! Come on, don’t pretend you don’t understand what I mean! Hmm… I… well… half you say? , I imagine Only? Well… that… eh, No, my then I should eh, eh… friend, it’s consider myself not the money fortunate! I’m afraid of I’m . afraid the people here in Kabul will forget too quickly… 9
    • Hello, Baba. Hello, Kaka Rahim. my son! Amir jan! He must be running to his The Pfff… problem is books, as usual. that’s that… I don’t I wasn’t like that not the know, no… The when I was point. point is there’s his age. something You know, missing in sometimes that boy .you’re the mostegocentric man I know. No? No.10
    • Qwerty on KAT for more Oh, really? What would No, that be, a absolutely mean not. That has streak? nothing to do with it… Well, you see, the other day Amir was coming home from school when some bigger boys started pushing him around, trying to get his books. You know what happened then? No, what happened? Hassan had to step in to make them go away And when I asked . Amir how Hassan got that scratch, he told me he fell! It’s not a matter of I just don’t violence. It’s a lack of see myself character. A boy who in him. can’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything. Maybe he just needs to find his own… path. And so what? He’s not a coloring book. You can’t choose the colors you want him to have: he has his own. He just isn’t violent. 11
    • Amir… what… what are you doing here? Amir, wait! Amir, wait, you see… your father didn’t mean… I know. It’s because of my mother… Huh? Your mother? What does it have to do with your mother, Amir jan?12
    • Oh no, Amir jan, don’t say that. Please don’t say that again. He hates me because my mother died giving birth to me. You see… birth is always a gift, butsometimes it can also be a risk. Both formother and child, andyou must be thankful you’re alive… That’s what your father does: every day he is thankful you’re here with him. You I know. Really . understand, You’re a smart Maybe I’ll bring Amir? boy Amir. But now , you a fine notebook I have to go… I’m to write some of leaving for Pakistan, your wonderful you know? But when I stories in. In fact, come back, I promise when I get back, I’ll bring you you have to let a gift! me read one! Yes, Kaka Rahim. O­ okay… 13
    • Hassan! Come inside! … Coming, Father! A father. A son. I often convinced myself I had no envy of Hassan. No envy Not even a little. .14
    • Sometimes, in thinking back on the past it seems I’ve spent the last twenty-six years behind a wall. One of those tumbledown mud walls of which there are a thousand in Kabul.It was behindjust one of these that I became the person I am today . It’s useless to hide, Amir! I found you! … and that You see, Amir means now it’s agha, it’s only a your turn! question of… Amir! Come… the wind is perfect, and they’ve started a neighborhood kite tournament! Man! How come Ican never finda good hiding place?! 15
    • You’re doing great, Amir agha! Turn the spool or else Yossuf will cut your kite! I know, I know! Go, go, go! Come on! Careful… You’ve he’s veering to got it! the right!16
    • You nearlyhave it, Amir!You nearly have it! Now, Amir! Now! Cut it! 17
    • What are you waiting for, Hassan? You want the others to get it?! No, Amir agha, come… over this way! You cut it! You did it! What are you doing? Don’t you see they all went that way?! Hassan! Didn’t you hear what I told you?! Trust me, Amir… follow me! What are we doing here? By this point someone else must already have gotten the kite!18
    • Qwerty on KAT for more I’m not We didn’t saying. I just Yes, lose it, Amir, know! but, I in fact… mean… How can you know? How can you say that… ? I know because I’d never tell you a lie, Amir. I’d sooner eat dirt than betray your trust. Really? If you asked … then, I’d say I You’d eat dirt if I I would. But I was right to run told you to, wonder. Would over this way! Hassan? you ever ask me to do such a thing, Amir agha? Don’t be stupid, Hassan. You know I wouldn’t. Hassan! The kite! I know… Look… Hassan got the kite! But, how did he do that… ? 19
    • Come on, Hassan! Hit ’em! But I don’t know if… Go on, do it for me! … Oh, all right! Oh, Amir… Hassan! Get back inside!20
    • Amir… still awake. What… what are you doing? At school they taught us What? That onthat drinking alcohol is a sin, Judgment Day Father. If… if that’s true, it I’m going to bemeans that you are a sinner punished? Listen, and that… that… Amir, do you want to know what your father thinks about sin? You want to know? Yes, Baba jan. Very well. I mean to speak to you man to man. Never mind the mullah and all the rest of those self-righteous monkeys. There is only one sin. Theft. Do you understand that? No… I don’t think so. Why? Why theft? You see, when you kill a man, you steal And when Bravo,a life. You steal his wife’s you tell a lie, you Amir.right to a husband, rob his steal someone’s You’re a children of a father. right to the truth. good So every sin comes Do you see? son. back to theft. I see, Baba jan. 21
    • The weeks passed quickly but one , night, the Afghanistan we knew suddenly changed forever. Boys… come back inside. Nothing is happening… They’re… they’re shooting Hassan! What’s ducks. happening?! Where is Baba?! Baba jan! Babaaaaa! Where are you?! Baba jan! I’m afraid! Where were you?! Amir, calm down, it’s nothing! I was working late and the streets were blocked. Ev­ erything’s all right now. Everything’s all right. Later I discovered that they weren’t shooting ducks after all. Kabul awoke the next morning to find that the monarchy was a thing of the past. Daoud Khan, in the absence of his cousin, the king, Zahir Shah, had taken Afghanistan in a bloodless coup . Whatever it was that happened, all I remember was suddenly feeling happy.22
    • “… if you truly are my father, then you have stained your sword with the blood of your son.” “You have come to this end for your obstinacy . I acted thusly because you turned your soul to love.” “Because I believed Irecognized the signs of which my mother recounted legends.But vainly did I appeal to your heart, and now the time of encounter has PASSED… ” And so concludes the legend of the great warrior Rostam, who mortally wounded his valorous adversary Sohrab in battle, only later to discover that he was his son, believed long lost. Ah, ah, ah! Bravo! It’s a marvelous story Amir , agha. Will you read it again, Again, please? Hassan?! Let’s do this: tomorrow I’ll read you a new story from the Shahnamah. 23
    • Well… I wanted to ask you… What? Amir I wanted agha? to ask you… what’s a What republic? On is it? the radio all they do is repeat that word. I don’t Amir want them I… don’t agha? to send think so. us away . What is it? Does the republic mean that Father and I will have to leave? Hey… look here. You know what we could do with this? Stupid, nobody’s going to send you away Never. . I won’t allow it.24
    • … the old man was right. The villagers have won. Not us. We always lose. If I’m not wrong, this must be Mmmm…the twelfth time we’ve not sure. Maybe seen this, right? thirteenth. Catch me now, gringo, if you can! Bang! Bang! Ha, ha, Ha, ha, ha, ha! ha, ha! 25
    • Come back, you bandit! Tsk! The Bang! Bang! You last sheriff who can’t escape the said that to me sheriff! is still rotting in the desert! Rat ta ta ta!!! Oooof… What happened?! Hey, Hassan! Careful! Look who’s here, crawling like worms through the bazaar alley­ ways…26
    • A fine pair of little fairies going around hand in hand! Aren’t they cute, guys? Hey, Guys, excuse me… Flat-Nose. How I have a question. If I is Babalu, your pay you, does that makefather? And his leg? you my friends… or Maybe one day we my slaves? should break his other leg, so then he’ll stop limping! Eh? You like the idea?! Oh no, Assef if you pay , us, we’d be your servants. 27
    • … Just as I We aren’t Oh yes, thought. So bothering you you do bother me. Hassan is Amir’s at all. Why don’t You make my little slave. you leave us in stomach turn. If peace? idiots like you and your father didn’t take these people in, we’d be rid of them by now. Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, not this flat-nose here. The Hazaras pollute our homeland. They dirty Hey did , our blood. And today you hear your blood will that? The dirty the dust. Hazara is brave! Please. Assef agha. Put that Leave us slingshot down, alone! Hazara! What do you think you’re doing?28
    • You are right, agha. But perhaps you didn’t notice that I’m the one holding the slingshot. I forgot… you don’t know how to count. Maybe you didn’t notice, but there are three of us and two of you. Tsk… as you wish. You should know something … Tashakor. Thank you. So… youabout me, Hazara. want to go toI’m a very patient our tree? person. This doesn’t end today believe , me. This isn’t the end for you either, Amir. Someday I’ll make , you face me one on one. Let’s go, guys. There… done. “Hassan and Amir, the sultans of Kabul.” 29
    • Father… ? Hey Hassan! , Leave those pigeons for a Go on. minute… Come He called on up! you, go! Amir agha. Can I… ? Here. Happy Birthday, Hassan. It’s made in America. I thought if you’re It’s going to be my wonderful, bodyguard, you’ll Amir, it’s need a serious really… weapon… right?30
    • Boys, Did you would you like see, Amir?! to go for a That’s the same spin in the car that was car… ? in Bullitt! Wooo-oooh! Steve McQueeeeeeeeen! Amir! Today is Hassan’s birthday . Let him sit in front for today . Tell me, Hassan, would you like to know Fine, what your it won’t be gift is? long. We’re almost Oh yes, there. Agha sahib! I have the honor of presenting you A pleasure,Doctor… your birthday gift: Hassan. Doctor Kumar. Salaam alaykum, Mr. Qadiri. P-pleasure… 31
    • Qwerty on KAT for more I had Doctor So, you see, Kumar come plastic surgeons straight from make corrections New Delhi. He’s to small a plastic physical defects surgeon. of the body… or of the face. Do you know Oh… what plastic surgeons do, Hassan? I realize it’s an unusual gift. Oh no. It But after won’t hurt a bit. tomorrow your You know why? harelip will be Because the only a doctor will give memory . you a medicine to put you to sleep . Now let’s go. But… I… this… 32
    • The end of winter 1975 I’m beingfinally arrived. Winter was sincere with you, kite season, and even if Amir jan, your storyat that time I would never is really fine. You Of course, have imagined it, in that should read it, my all the stories winter Hassan ran his friend. I’m sure that Amir writes are last kite for me. one day your son fantastic! will be a famous writer. Well… then why don’t you tell us this story if it’s so good, Amir? Come on, No, I… Amir, your father don’t… it’s wants to hear different your story . than… Well… my story is about a man. Yes. It tells And then? of a man who found a cup . Then what The man It’s a magic cup And one . happens? became rich, day this man made but as the pearls a discovery… piled up so did his , greed grow. The story ends with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife’s slain body in his arms. He learned that if he wept into the cup his , tears turned to pearls! And he… he was very poor… 33
    • So… the man killed What is it, his wife so he would Hassan? be sad and cry a lot and become rich, right? Is that what happened? Well… yes. Hassan, That’s right, wait! What you’re a is it… ? bright boy. Well, No, I still don’t Hassan is nothing… understand. Why did pretty clever, the man kill his wife? that one! In fact, why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Couldn’t he have just smelled an onion? Yes, he is, isn’t he… Hassan, I asked you, what is it?!34
    • Did I ever tell you So, today’s about when I won the the big day, tournament? I was your eh? age and I cut fourteen kites! And nobody’s ever beat that record! Uhm… right… Good heavens, you must have told that story to everyone in Kabul! Rahim jan! You old grumbler, eating too fast will make you fat! See you on the square, Come on, Amir! leave the boy in peace and let’s go have breakfast. I’m dying of hunger! Okay… see you. It’s a What, aremagnificent I… I you kidding? You day today. really don’t mustn’t be afraid ofWe’d better feel like anything. It’s really get flying a kite a magnificent day , moving! today . and it’s just a kite tournament… Remember that! All right, we’ll lay them all out, Hassan. 35
    • All right, go… up into the sky! Ready! Amir… Amir! The kite! Careful! Watch out for that one over there… that yellow one, Amir agha! I see it, Hassan!36
    • Bravo, Amiragha! I’ve counted How many seven, have I cut, maybe Hassan? eight. 37
    • Boboresh! Boboresh! Cut it! Cut it! You’re almost there, Amir! You’re almost there! Okay… here we go… A little more… Yahooo!!! Yaaayyy!!! Oooooooooh!!!!! Hurrraaayyy!!! Victoryyy!!!38
    • No, Hassan. We won! We won together! Aha-ah! You did it! You won, Amir agha! Hassan! Come back with that blue I know. kite!Hassan… We’ll we… celebrate later… Now I’m going to run that blue kite for you! For you a thousand times over! 39
    • Omar… Hey! have you seen Hassan by What… ? chance? Your Hazara? I think I saw him running around the bazaar… They say he’s a great You kite runner… don’t look so brave now, eh… ? Where’s your slingshot, Hazara? Uh? Yes, in fact, he is.40
    • But today is your lucky That day Hazara. I’m in , would really Especially a mood to forgive. be generous considering how What do you of you, he treated you guys say? Assef! last time! Bakhshida. Forgiven. You’re a It’s done. Of course, lucky Hazara. nothing is free in this Because today it’s , world, and my pardon only going to cost comes with a small you that blue price. kite. Do what he says, Hazara. It’s a generous offer on his part. Bow When will you understand Amir agha wow! A loyal that for Amir you’re just a won the tournament Hazara. Loyal servant?! You’re just a toy toand I ran this kite for as a dog. Give play with, a little dog to takehim. I ran it fairly This . us that it out on when he gets mad! Do is his kite. kite. you really think he’d do the same for you? 41
    • As you wish, You’re Flat-Nose. That wrong! Amir was the last agha is my chance. friend! My best friend! I’ve changed my mind. I’m letting you keep the kite, Hazara. I’ll let you keep it so it will always Turn him remind you of what I’m about and get his to do. Wali, Kamal, pants down! hold him! Bravo, that’s right, no struggling. There’s nothing you can do. And you two, what are you waiting for? Didn’t you hear what I said?!42
    • Ready, I ran away I ran because . Hazara? I was a coward.I told myself I was But the real reason I Maybe Hassan wasafraid of Assef and was running was that the price I had to the harm he would Assef was right: nothing pay to win Baba. have done me. was free in this world.Was it a fair price? The answer floated to myconscious mind before I could thwart it. After all, he was just a Hazara, wasn’t he? 43
    • Your father will … I don’t never know. Since know, Assef . when is it a sin to Why those My father faces, guys? teach a lesson says it’s to a donkey Wali? Kamal? a sin. like that? Hassan! Where were you? I looked for you! I looked for I… you everywhere! I… Let’s go… Hey where are you , going? I’m talking to you! I…44
    • … Aghasahib will worry . 45
    • Come on, give me a hug. Bravo, Amir… I’m proud of you. Amir! Finally! Come here!46
    • Two weeks later. Where is Hassan? It’s been two weeks Ali… can that… I ask yousomething? He is sleeping. Lately it seems , all he wants to do is sleep. He does all his chores and then slips into bed. Anything you like, Agha sahib. You see, after the tournament he returned Tell me, Now may I ask home with his clothes ripped. did something you something, And he was bleeding. When I happen to him, Amir agha? asked him what happened, he Amir agha? told me there was a scuffle Something he’s for running the kite. not telling me? How should I know? I already told you I don’tInshallah, know! Maybe he’s sick.you would People get sick all the tell me if time, Ali. Now am Isomething going to freeze to happened, death, or are you wouldn’t planning on lighting you? the stove today? 47
    • Amir, what are you doing inside? Why don’t you go outside to play? Do you want to ask Hassan You to come along know… I was with us? thinking… what do you say if we go to the cinema He can’t. today? They’re He’s mareez. showing El Cid, Not feeling Really? with Charlton well. What’s Heston… wrong with him? Well, then, Ali says the two of us he has a cold. can have fun He sleeps all together! Lately I don’t see the time. you and Hassan together much, or am I wrong? Remember that if there’s something going on between you two, whatever it is, you have to deal with it, not me. Yes, Baba jan. Just a simple cold? Too bad. I thought you might have had more fun if he came. Okay Besides, Charlton then! Dress Heston is your warm! favorite actor, for both of you!48
    • You haven’t done anything, I don’t Hassan. Just go. I want you to know what I’ve What is it? stop harassing me. I want done, Amir agha. IWhy are you you to go away . wish you’d tell me.looking at I don’t know why me? we don’t play anymore. But… Baba, Why have you ever What is would I ever Come on, thought about it, Amir? Why want to do Amir, help me! getting new that face? that?! What’s Pass me those servants? got into you, tulips! Your Amir? mother used to like them so much… I… nothing. It was just a question… I told you to Yes… resolve your problem with Hassan. I grew up with Ali. Forty years Ali’s been I didn’t with my family And you . hear you. think I’m just going to throw him out? Yes, Baba. I’m I’m sorry I , sorry , won’t do it Baba. again. You bring me shame. And Hassan… Hassan’s not going anywhere, do you understand? He’s staying right here with us, where he belongs. Don’t you ever ask me that question again! Is that clear? 49
    • Amir agha, I brought you your story! The one you promised to read me, remember? Huh? But why, instead of My asking me, don’t stories you learn to are Don’t say read by stupid. that, Amir! I like yourself? them a lot! I… I am learning, slowly… But what’s wrong? It’s your story… Why are you Tell me… doing… ? what would you do if I hit you with one of these?50
    • Come on…what are you Amir… I…waiting for? don’t… Come on, hit me! Didn’t you hear me?! Hit me back! Hit me back, goddamn you! And that! Fine, if And that!that’s what And that! you want, take that! You’re a coward! Nothing but a goddamn coward! Just like that neighbor’s dog! There… that’s what you Hassan… wanted. Are you I… satisfied? Do you feel better? 51
    • Summer 1976. Yes, it seems like Forgive him… … and so just yesterday At this age, it’s thirteen that… Hey Amir, , they’re always years, now, they’re talking a bit distracted, eh, Amir to you! what do you agha? expect? We were all like that! Maybe he saw a pretty girl going by… ha, ha, ha!52
    • Come on… Tanya! and this time, Mahmud! What a try not to make pleasure to see me look bad. you here! What My dear a pleasure! friend! The pleasure is ours! HappyBirthday, Amir! A-Assef… Assef! So, how are you? Still playing soccer? You know when I was young I was a great I see Right center forward? you’ve learned wing, as I your father’s recall? captivating ways! Ha, ha, ha! Actually I switched to center forward this year. You get to score more that way. Ha, ha, ha! Oh, I’m sure you still are, Kaka jan! 53
    • That sounds fun, Assef jan! Wali and Kamal are here, too… They wouldn’t miss your birthday for anything! Maybe one day we can all I… I don’t play a little game of really like soccer! Bring Hassan soccer… if you want to! Nay no , Hmm… well… harm done. But maybe you could you have an open play a game of invitation, Amir jan. volleyball… Here, this is for you. I picked it myself… I heard you like to read, so… Aren’t you going to thank Assef jan? Excuse him… You know, it’s one of my favorite books. Tashakor… Thanks.54
    • Shouldn’t you be entertaining your Oh, them… guests? They don’t need me for that. Baba’s there, remember? By the way… I didn’t know you drink. Only for important occasions. Did I ever tellyou I was almost No, really? married once? I was eighteen. Her name was Homaira. She was a Hazara. We’d pass entire days dreaming about our wedding… It’s funny You should have . But in the end, it’s seen the look on my father’s always the world that We’d have a face when I told him. My wins. That same day my, great, fancy wedding. mother fainted. In the end, father put Homaira and I would build us a big well, in the end it was me her family on a house, all white, and and Homaira against lorry and sent then… then… the world. them off to Hazarajat. Then? 55
    • I’m sorry… Oh well, it was probably for the best, though. What I wanted to tell you is that you can tell me anything you want, Amir. Anytime. Happy Thanks, it’s beautiful, Ali birthday Amir! , asked me For your thank you! to give you stories. this… It’s Oops, I from almost Hassan. forgot… Thank you, Kaka Rahim! The… the Book of Kings… the Shahnamah… Rostam and Sohrab, and many other stories, I know. The pictures are hand-drawn in pen and ink… … Fireworks. Just like your father.56
    • Over that way ,Amir. He’s there, at the bar. 57
    • Qwerty on KAT for more It’s very… it’s very pretty , Baba jan. Thank you. Good, I’m glad you like it. Now I have to go to work… Well… do you like it? See you tonight. 58
    • Come on, Hassan,let’s go! 59
    • Amir! Have you already eaten? What I thought we could is it? Why have lunch together, that face? what do you say? I, I’m sorry… It’s about the watch… Now… we’re going to settle this thing. Hassan! Was it you? Yes. Did you steal It was me Amir’s who stole watch? it.60
    • I… I forgive you. We areleaving, Agha sahib. What? But I forgive him, Ali, didn’t you hear? It does not matter. Life here is Ali! impossible for us I don’t now, Agha sahib. care about the We’re leaving. watch! Come Today . back! 61
    • Ali! You… you two… you can’t leave! You can’t! I forbid it! With all respect, you can’t forbid me anything. We don’t work for you anymore. Good-bye.62
    • Some years had passedsince that cursed day There .had been a coup d’état, and then the Soviets invaded Kabul, our city. But… Amir! Wait. It’s Wake up! We not certain… have to go… now! No “buts” Get dressed and this time, Rahim… get your things! I have only one Move! thing to ask of you… Will you take care of the house while I’m gone? Of course it is. They’re coming to get me… All Kabul knows what I think of the Russians! Leave, yes… Of course, but where of course, to? my friend. Don’t make that face. We won’t be gone long. Afghanistan is a country that hates invaders… Pakistan. And from there, Now I’ll figure it’s late. something We must out! leave! 63
    • And what will you do Good-bye… for the money? They take 5,000 afghanis per person! Well… I’m sure they won’t refuse a black Ford Mustang! Good-bye, my friend! Halt! Stop!64
    • He… wants Why don’t a half hour with you instead ask the lady in the back him where his of the truck. It’s shame is?! his price for letting us pass. Tell himWhat is he he’s wrong. War saying?! doesn’t negate decency . Agha sahib… He says these men are this is war. not like us. They There is no understand shame in nothing about war. respect, honor. Please… What did he say? 65
    • He says… says Baba, sit down he’ll enjoy putting a please. I think he bullet in you almost really means to as much as… shoot you… Ha ha ha! What’s going on Fine, tell him he here? better kill me good with that first shot. Because if I Amir! don’t go down, I’m tearing Haven’t I him to pieces, goddamn taught you his father! anything?! … Proceed. Tashakor, Agha sahib!66
    • Come on, get out! Get out, I said! Everybody Can you out! Hurry! tell us why we’re stopping? What’s going on? We can’t pass the As you wish. border with the As far as I’mtruck. We don’t have concerned, you In that. The enough money for can stay here. fuel truck. everyone. And so? What do we What? Are you do now?! joking?! There’s no light, no air. We’ll suffocate! Is that Think of Courage, better… ? something my son… go good, Amir. on in. Something Yes… maybe. happy . Baba jan, I can’t breathe! Baba, I… I’m afraid. I don’t want to. 67
    • Something happy Baba had said. That night I , thought about running a kite, about hands being cut by the glassed string. About standing ankle­ deep in untamed grass. About black tea. About Charlton Heston. About an old, familiar melody . That night I thought about Hassan.68
    • Fremont, California, 1980s. Sally Juzpetek… Michael Patten… Matt Roth… … Alex Shephard… … Danielle Wood… … Joe Sullivan… That summer of 1983, I graduated from high school at the age of twenty by far , the oldest senior among my American classmates. On that day Baba said one word to me: moftakhir. He was proud of me. 69
    • That night he took me out to celebrate. Tonight Hey, I am too much two whiskeys, happy! My son please! graduated today! Men, have a whiskey with us? No, not for me… I’ll have a beer, thanks. Tonight I toast with all of you to my son, who will go to university and soon be a great doctor! A round Hey, of beer for the congratulations! pool table, too! And you - yes, I’m talking to you - here, play Well, your favorite then… down Great, with the songs on that bravo! Russia! jukebox!70
    • down with down with the Russia!!! the Russia!!! down with the Russia!!! We came home Listen to me. late that night. Where are Become a doctor you going, and you’ll save Amir? lives. It’s better. I… I don’t want to be adoctor. I want to write… Tsk… write? Write, and then what? Then you’ll need a job to make money and what will , you do? Come with me and pump gas?! Home, why ? ... Hassan would have been very proud of you. I wish he Oh, Baba, could have thank you, been with us it’s… it’s… today… An ocean blue Because I Ford Gran Torino. It thought you needs a bit of paint, but might want to see I can ask the boys at your graduation the station. You’ll need Yes… present… it for university. 71
    • Fill ’er up. Is… this your car? It’s beautiful… Yes… it’s a beauty! You know it? I… yes, I know it well. It’s been a while… oh, there we are. It’s full. Baba, what are you still doing here? Yeah… Your shift is over! It’s sure… I’m Sunday: the San Jose flea coming… market is waiting for us!72
    • … That makes $4.75 change. Thanks, and good day… Come back Amir jan! soon! Come here! Thanks, bye. Come here, Amir jan. I want Such a lofty My son… he hasto introduce you to someone. introduction! finished his first year of It’s General Sahib, Mr. Iqbal Salaam, bachem. college and earned A’s Taheri. In Kabul he worked Hello, my in all of his courses. for the Ministry child! He’s going to be a of Defense. great writer! Excellent news! Afghanistan needs a Salaam… writer! Will you be writing Pleased to about our country , meet you, history perhaps? General Sahib… Economics? Padar jan… you forgot your tea. I write fiction, sir. I like writing stories… Ah, a storyteller… Well, people need stories Soraya, myto divert them at difficult times daughter! like this. You know… for Thank you… some amusement... 73
    • She is such a dear girl… Well, it’s time I go and set up Best of . luck with the writing! Oh… yes, of course, What is it? thank you. You tell me… You really Good-bye! took a liking to that girl, eh? Oh, Baba, please! At home, while seeking inspiration, a single thought occupied my mind.74
    • I never stopped I finished the first year of writing, not even for university with top grades a day I had finally . in nearly all subjects. found a story that I liked, and I wasn’t going to stop until I finished. Every week I waited for Sunday to arrive. It was Hey, the only day I was able Baba, would to see her. The sweet and you like a beautiful Soraya. Coke? Yes, thanks… but be careful, Amir. Of what, Baba? Just don’t embarrass me, that’s all I ask. Please! … of General Taheri. He is a Pashtun to the root. Honor and pride. I told Damned you… I’m only I won’t. cough!going to get us God, Baba. drinks. 75
    • Ehm, well… … Ehm. I was wondering… Hello. Is General Sahib here today? Oh… I didn’t see you. Hello! Yes, look, he must have gone that way! Fine, well… Will you tell him I stopped by to pay my respects? Sure, I will. Ah, well…76
    • Can I… Thank you. Oh, can I ask and my name is Amir. In what you’re case you need to know. reading? So you can tell him. That I stopped by To… pay . my respects. … your respects, sure. Yes. It’s a sad By the way, story . I heard you write… Sad stories Wuthering make goodHeights. Have books.you read it? They do. Ehm… yes… kind of… Would you like Now I better to read one of get going… Oops, I would not that way! I’m my stories? really like going this way! that. Then maybe one of these days I can bring you one of them… 77
    • Baba’s cough got worse. Mr. Qadiri! Where Now, let’s Michigan. are you from, see… Dr. Schneider? But where are you from originally? Well, actually my family’s from Russia. Huh? But what…? Come on, I’m Amir. Let’s sorry… you go. see, he… Move it, I said!78
    • Do you like Oh, youbargaining? rememb- I hate it! No, I don’t like it either… Ehm… I brought you this. It’s one Amir jan, of my… yes, our inspiring one of my storyteller. What stories. a pleasure! Salaam, You know, bachem, General I have grown rather fondSahib. How of you. You are a decent boy, are you? but even decent boys need reminding sometimes: you are among peers in this flea market… They say Hard it will rain to believe, this week. isn’t it? … and so he sent you back here, eh? Just as I … You see, thought. Honor and everyone here is pride, I told a storyteller. you so. Yes, but… Understand? Now do pass my respects to your father, Amir jan. 79
    • Baba, hold on. You’ll I’m here with you, I’m see that… not going anywhere. Help! that… Somebody call a doctor! Help! Baba! Baba, what is it?! So, Dr. Amani, tell me… from what part of Afghanistan exactly does your family come? How do you Like last time feel? you saw me, two weeks ago.80
    • The results of the analyses Amir, wait came back. That’s for me why I called outside. But, you. Baba… I saidoutside. Oat cell carcinoma. This was the illness Advanced. Inoperable. my father was carrying around with him. 81
    • … But I knew it would not be possible to keep him there. Pashtun honor and pride. I want to go home. But, Baba… you After some time there was heard what no more that could be the doctors done. Baba would have to said! stay in the hospital if he wanted to live longer. Let them say what they want, they can’t keep me here. Tomorrow we’re going back home. Oh, Baba… No bother. We’re here May we… ? for you, if you need Amir, how Salaam alaykum, anything, anything at are you? my friend… so, all… think of me as how do you a brother! feel? Salaam, General My heart… Taheri… You fills with I’m… I… I think I shouldn’t joy… to see need to step out. have. you… Excuse me.82
    • Amir… I’m so sorry… I didn’t think… No, matter. It’s all right now… Amir, I… it’s all… it’s very Sssh… important for me that it’s okay Hey . , you are here. Today But . you want now it’s better you to know a return inside, or secret? your father…I read it… it’s beautiful… 83
    • Well? The end? What do you There… there is think? What is it, no other end. Amir? Do you For me, that is It’s very want to tell me how it ends. nice, but where’s something? the rest of it? I want to read the ending… Well, then maybe I’m the problem… Fine, yes… Yes, there Well, is something I want let me ask to ask you. I want you this. Are you to go you sure? Are khastegari. you really sure? More sure than I’ve ever I want you been about to ask General anything, Baba Taheri for his jan. daughter’s hand.84
    • Well, what are you Hello? waiting for? Salaam alaykum… Pass me the General Taheri, I need phone! to speak with you… yes… would early tomorrow morning be okay? What? You really want to call right now?! And when would I, if not now? Go on, get me the phone!There we Really?! go… That’s... Wait. Soraya says she has to talk with you first. Yes, hello, it’s me. Talk? Talk about what? How should The general I know? Come has accepted. on, move it, instead of asking silly questions! 85
    • He was into drugs. So there it I’m happy, We lived together for You see, is! We’re getting too, Amir. Listen, almost a month. All the before coming married! I’m so I want to tell Afghans in Virginia were to California we happy I don’t you something. talking about it. Padar lived in Virginia. I was know what Something you eventually found us… eighteen at the time… to say. have to know you can imagine how it rebellious… stupid, before… and… I ran away went. I was hysterical. with an Afghan Yelling. Screaming. man. Saying I hated Mmm… him. All right. Actually , I’m grateful Well, a No, Soraya, he came for little. nothing you said me that day . changes anything. I really I want us to marry . believe he Today even, if we , saved me. could! Yes. Amir, does what I told you bother you? Then… do you want to retract your proposal?86
    • It’s okay ,Amir. I’ll manage. 87
    • You know what I see the I see in the rest of mirror? my life. What do you see?88
    • And these Thankdishes? Where you.did they come from? Amir, you’ve already Oh, Amir, forgotten! it’s only My aunts gave dishes… them to us as a gift! For Baba. For wanting to come live here, with Baba so ill. I’ll be right back… I’m getting the morphine and a glass of water. No, my child. You are very kind… but tonight there is no pain. Amir jan! Please, come… I want to go to bed! 89
    • 90
    • 91
    • San Francisco, Summer 2001. I have to You look pale, Amir. go to Pakistan. Huh? I said you look pale. To Pakistan? Rahim Khan, Baba jan’s old We were very close. He was the first adult business partner, is very ill. I considered a friend. Perhaps the only one. How long… how long will you be gone? Oh. I’m so I don’t know. He said sorry Amir… , he wanted to see me. Will it… ? No, it won’t be dangerous. It’ll all be fine, don’t worry. No. It’s better I go alone. Do you want me to come with you?92
    • Hmm… okay .So, where So, you come from are we Afghanistan, eh? going? Oh, sorry , you’re right… It’s just that… it’s been a long time… Here, this is the address. You know… it’s terrible what is happening in yourcountry Really terrible. Afghans . and Pakistanis should be like brothers. Muslims helping their brother So, we’re almost Muslims, there. This part of the that’s how it city is called Afghan Town. works. Many are shopkeepers, but the majority barely scrape a living… You know what I think… ? Peshawar seems almost like it’s a suburb of Kabul. Now all you need to do is go down that street. Good-bye. Here you are… Go ahead and keep the change. 93
    • Amir jan… welcome! It is So… how strange to did you manage see you again to find me? as an adult. Strange and wonderful. It’s not difficult to find someone in America. I bought a map and called Information in California.94
    • Uhm… yes… We… don’t I remember General have any Wait, I have Taheri, a man of children. something for convictions! And so you you! I almost married his daughter, forgot. eh… ? Tell me, any children? Oh… This is the lastnovel I wrote. It’s just come out. You know, I went on for years Amir jan… writing in bound this is an notebooks like honor. the one you gave me. 95
    • And what about the Taliban? Why didn’t Is it as bad as you leave? I hear? Nay it’s , worse. Much worse. They don’t let you be human. Your father’s orphanage was even Kabul destroyed… And to think is my that when they arrived, home. we welcomed them as heroes! Let me take you home Then how with me. I can find you a did you end up good doctor. They’re here, in always finding new Pakistan? cures there. I’ve been Ah, I see here for six The truth is, America has infused months. I I am dying. I you with its optimism… No, came to find don’t think I’ll Amir. That’s not why I called a doctor. see the end of you. That’s not why this summer. you’re here today . You see… when I lived in your father’s house I wasn’t alone. Hassan lived there with me.96
    • Qwerty on KAT for more In 1986, most of my friends and relatives had either been killed or had escaped the country so I went , to Hazarajat to look for Hassan. You should have seen how he had grown up Hassan had . They came because married a girl named Hassan wanted them Farzana. Ali was dead, to, when he found poor thing, lost to out that your father Then one winter a land mine, so I also had died. While day someone , suggested they they were there, came to our door. It’s incredible how return to Kabul with that house was a It was Sanaubar, such a horrible event me, to help take care splendor. I could Hassan’s mother, like the war could of your father’s never have managed whom he had have reunited mother house. without their help. never known. and son. In 1990, Farzana and Rostam and Sohrab… like Hassan had a little boy. in the Book of Kings. Hassan called him Sohrab. 97
    • I don’t The Taliban went to understand. Where No, that’s the house. Hassan is he now? Why do impossible! explained to them that he you speak of him What… ? was keeping it for me, but in the past How… ? they wouldn’t believe him. tense? They said he was a thief A liar, just like . all Hazaras. Please, Amir jan… I had already been in Pakistan for a month when a neighbor telephoned to tell me He is dead, what happened. Amir. He died. Hassan refused to let them have it, so they took him outside… … and they shot him at no! the base of They the neck. made him kneel… God, no! Farzana ran And… out of the house, and the boy? shrieking, and they Sohrab? shot her, too. For legitimate defense, they said… He’s in Kabul. He’s in an orphanage in Karteh-seh.98
    • To Kabul? Rahim Khan, you can’t be serious. My wife is waiting for me at home. Why me? Why can’t you pay someone here to go? Amir jan, I It isn’t want you to go to about money , Kabul. I want you to Amir! I will not be Shortly bring Sohrab here. Here insulted! We can before I left, in Peshawar, there’s offer Sohrab a newHassan gave me a small charity life, and I think we this. It’s for organization, it’s both know why it you. clean and safe… has to be you, don’t we? Maybe Baba Maybe was right about me, you’re the one Rahim jan. You’ve who’s wrong. And always had too there’s something high an opinion you don’t know. Ali of me. had a previous wife, from the Jaghori area. She left him after three years of marriage. What does this have to do with… ? She bore This is impossible! three daughters Your father I think you That you all lied to me to the second loved the two know who. for all these years! That man she married. of you, because you robbed me of my right Ali was you were both to the truth! That Baba sterile. his sons! And never even… Sohrab… Sohrab is your nephew! No, he wasn’t. He and Sanaubarhad Hassan, didn’tthey? If Ali wasn’t the father, then who… ? 99
    • Amir jan, please don’t leave… He lied to both of you. At that time, his honor, his name, that was everything. He couldn’t Enough, have told about it: I don’t want people would have to hear gossiped. any more.100
    • I’ve changed What’s the I’ll pray for money got the , matter? Car sick? you, Amir jan. Be on Polaroid, got You should try a lemon!your way now, you have , the pakol… and I always bring one a trustworthy driver the beard. for this drive. waiting for you. That’s Want one? everything, I think. I don’t know if it will work… but thanks. Here we are, the check post. Fix that beard… With the Taliban, you Salaam can’t even roam the streets freely . alaykum. Imagine being caught without a Salaam. beard! What are you waiting for, a lashing?! 101
    • Why such a It’s… frightened face, it’s just that… Mr. Amir? I don’t… Not used to it? If you Let me imagine, want to survive, you have Agha sahib. You probably to stop being afraid: an lived in a big two- or three-story Afghan who is afraid of house with a nice backyard that your dying is an Afghan who gardener filled with flowers and is already dead… He fruit trees. Your father drove an just doesn’t know American car. You had servants, it yet. probably Hazaras. What are you saying, I’m not a real Afghan? I was raised here, even if I did leave twenty years ago. You’re a writer? Maybe you should tell the rest of the world what the Taliban are doing to our country . That’s not the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it. No, I… write stories. Pfff… and what brings you Novels. The last back here? Sell this land, sell Bas! one is called A that house, collect the money , Is that Season for and run away like a how you Ashes. mouse, treat a guest, right? my brother? Excuse us, Agha sahib.102
    • I’m going What doesto Kabul to Yes. he mean to A boy? find a boy . you? This Hazara This boy. boy?! His father meant a lot to me. He is the man in the photo. He’s dead now. He was my half brother. I want to take Here you him back to Peshawar. go, boys. This There are people will tell you there who will take the time in any care of him. city of the world. You are an honorable man, Amir agha. A true Afghan. I’m warning you, Kabul is not the way you remember it. 103
    • There And that’s how it was. This was not they are… really Kabul, only a specter of the Beard it. But underneath the rubble, the Patrol. dust, and the diesel oil, I could recognize the streets, re-evoke places and shops, sensations, and even odors… … lamb kebab. That’s what this street smelled like in the old days. Yes, that’s where it was: the best in all of Kabul. Welcome back. Hey, What’s the What? what are you matter with doing?! Stop, you?! lower your eyes! Don’t ever stare at them! The Taliban! Let’s go. I don’t want to stay here. The Karteh-seh orphanage is over that way.104
    • Salaam alaykum. Alaykum salaam. Why not Lotfan. Please. His You were We’re take a I know name is Sohrab. wrong aboutsearching closer all the His father Hassan one thing. He’s for this look? children in the was my brother. not good with the boy. I am orphanage, and He knows how to slingshot, he’s sorry I . I’ve never seen read and write. And great. I’ll take have never that one. he’s good with the you to my seen him. slingshot. I’m his office. uncle… I can take him with me to Pakistan! There is a I want Talib official. He Usually to believe you, visits once every month he’ll take a you look sincere… or two. He brings cash girl. But not and desperate. with him, not a lot… but always. But… you may well better than nothing be too late. at all. Too late? What do you mean?! 105
    • What?! I’ll kill And you let you! him?! I have no choice. You call yourself a director? You should protect the children. The Instead, you’re children are selling watching, Farid! them! They’re watching. For you it’s easy. You think you’re making a heroic gesture by saving one little boy… and what about the other 250? The others will remain, with no hot water, You the well is dry not enough , see that blankets. girl? This past winter, her brother died of exposure. We have less than a But I How canmonth’s supply of rice left. I haven’t did stay With . I allow all been paid in over six months. I’m them. For them. this? I leave the broke because I’ve spent my life’s If I deny him one judging to savings on this orphanage. You child, he takes ten. Allah. think I don’t have a family? I I swallow my pride could have run like and take his goddamn everyone else. filthy… dirty money . Then I go to the bazaar and buy food for the children. What… happens to the children he takes?106
    • Sometimes Go to they come back. Ghazi Stadium Sometimes they tomorrow. You’ll don’t. see him at half-time. He’ll be the one wearing black sunglasses. Now, please leave, the children are frightened. Whois he? Howcan we findthis Talib? See those They’re two? What are haggling over the they doing? leg. You can get good money for it on the black market. Feed your kids for a couple of weeks. Wait a minute… Huh? What? Stop! Stop the jeep! 107
    • What That used are you to be my house. doing? Will you give me ten minutes? I think that’s it! Over there! Okay I’ll , wait here. But hurry. Yes… coming.108
    • There… Look there, half-time. trucks are coming… Amir… do you want to stay? No. I don’t want to, Farid. But I have to. That mustbe the man the director was speaking of… 109
    • Brothers And what does and sisters! We are God say? That every here today to carry out sinner must be punished Shari’a. To carry out in a manner befitting justice. We listen to his sin. It is not I, nor what God says. my brothers, who say these words, but God himself! And what manner of punishment befits the adulterer? How shall we punish those who dishonor the sanctity of marriage? How shall we answer those who throw stones at the windows of God’s house? Nooooooo!!! Merrrrrcy!!! Helllppppp!! No, pleeeeease!!! We shall throw the stones back!110
    • Allah-u-Akbar!Allah-u-Akbar!Allah-u-Akbar! Hey you. Yes, you, , can I ask you a question… I’d like to speak with the man dressed in white. It’s a private matter. This afternoon. Three o’clock. 111
    • Qwerty on KAT for more I guess I’ll wait in the car for you… You’ve done much more than I’ve paid you for. I don’t expect you to go with me. Why such a face, Farid? I’ll be right back! 112
    • Pardon? The beard… you could have grown a real one, rather than gluing At least on that stupid fake you could beard. You can have grown a do away with real one. it now. One of the better ones You come from I’veI’ve seen in a while. America? been away But it really is so a longmuch better this way , time. I think. Don’t you? So, Inshallah, you enjoyed the show Yes… today? That’s not an answer. Does it seem like an answer to you, men? And what are Nay, you doing with that Agha whore? Why aren’t you sahib! here, with your Muslim brothers, serving your country? 113
    • Listen, I’m looking for a boy His name is Sohrab. . At the orphanage they told me I could find him here. It’s true. He’s here. Would you like to see my boy? How talented he is, nay my Hazara , boy! Come here.114
    • You know, I heard about What did you think? Leave Yes, your father. Pity! I would That I wouldn’t recognize us alone Agha have preferred to see you? You know, I never now. sahib. him, rather than his forget a face. spineless son! … Assef! W-what are you doing here? Me, Amir?I’m in my element. I told What are you you, I’m here doing here? for the boy . I’ll pay you for him. Oh, you want to take him away, Afghanistan was like a do you? Afghanistan isn’t good palace filled with garbage. enough for him? But what do you Now we’ve taken it out and know of our country?! Where brought back law were you when the Russians and order. were pissing in our mosques and entering our houses?! I know… I’ve seen. Like today at the stadium, or like with the Hazaras at Mazar-i-Sharif . Fine piece of law and order. Now, I want the boy! If you want him so much, then take him! 115
    • We have some unfinished business, you and I, remember? This way And you can’t run no one will hear away… not this us. Of course… time. I didn’t say you could take him for free. What do you want? Come on, fight! Agha sahib, please! Stop it! Oooofff…116
    • Put Please, down the agha, stop slingshot, hurting him. Hazara. PUT IT DOWN!!! Quiet, you! No more. Please, agha.Bas! Please, no more. I said put that down! Aaaaah!!! My eye… Aaaaaah!!!! Help!!! my eyyyyyeee!!! Out! Get it OUT!!! Bia, let’s go! 117
    • Aaaaaaah!!! Aaaaaah! Out! Get Bismillah! it out!!! Bismillah! Faster, Agha sahib! Here we are. We’ve made it now… Bismillah! Bismillah! It hurt to breathe. At one point, I felt a tiny hand on my throbbing, bleeding forehead. Then I fainted.118
    • To this day I do not know , how much time passed after I arrived at the hospital in Peshawar. I remember they were asking me if I hurt and if I knew who I was. I knew who I was and I hurt everywhere. But the rest was confused. The pain was so great I kept fainting. Hassan… ? Now I’ll show you why they call me Toophan agha! Ha, ha! You are in a hospital in Soon Peshawar. You’ve undergone we’ll have surgery I would say you’re very . those wires lucky to be alive, my friend. Many out, Amir. broken ribs, and luckily for you the spleen didn’t rupture until later, otherwise… ?? Right, otherwise… lucky . 119
    • Amir! Do Thank you, you remember Of Farid. For who we are course I everything. today? remember! Al And you, hamdulellah! Sohrab jan? I like your new clothes. Before I You are the They are forget, this Amir agha my son’s. He has is from Rahim Father told outgrown them. Khan. He… he’s me about? My children have left. taken a liking to him. Ha, Sohrab? Left? What do you mean left? He just left. He left this letter for you. And you are Sohrab. You saved my life in Kabul.120
    • Try to get well soon. The sooner we get out of Peshawar, the better. They’re looking for you. Farid, Now you maybe it’s better must rest, Amir for you not to agha. We’ll come visit me be back anymore… tomorrow. Don’t worry about me, I can manage. Rahim Khan’s letter was a good-bye letter… If you promise me not to be shocked, I’ll promise that in a few days you’ll be a lot more handsome. … He asked me to forgive him for the lies, and he asked me to forgive the wrongs committed… … Now I knew what I had to do. First to Islamabad and then to America. Sohrab would come with me. But first I had to make a phone call. Morehandsome… In the envelope there was a key to a safe-deposit box. Rahim Khan was leaving me all his … those of my father. And money to take care of themy own. As I had suspected, expatriation expenses. He asked he knew everything… me not to look for him… 121
    • Stay the Islamabad. night. It’s a long drive. Leave tomorrow, Farid. Tashakor, but I want to get back tonight. I miss my children. I don’t know how to thank you. You’ve done so much for me. Take care of yourselves… We’re almost at the hotel. My journey’s almost over, but yours is just beginning… There. It’s only three thousand dollars… Farewell, Farid! … Three thousand… dollars! Soraya… Amir!!! Where are you? Are you okay? I’ve been sick with fear! I’m in Pakistan. I’m fine now. I have a story to tell you, a story I should have told you a long time ago, but first I need to tell you one thing… I’m not coming home alone…122
    • Qwerty on KAT for more I’m beginning to Are your forget what their parents voices were like. And dead? Them… yes, their faces. Is that they’re dead. I a bad thing? never even met my mother, and my No. It’s father died a few normal… time years ago. I miss makes us him a lot. forget. Here, take this. It will help you remember. Keep it. It’s yours. Tashakor. Thank you. Sometimes I think I’m glad they’re gone. Why, Because… Sohrab? so at least… Because I don’t want them to see me… I’m so dirty So dirty and . full of sin. He came to get me in the morning and did things… Don’t ever say Shhh, don’t that again, Sohrab. cry Would you like . You’re not dirty and , to come live in America you’re not full of sin. with me? Soraya is No one’s going to already waiting for hurt you anymore. you. You’ll like her, I promise. you’ll see… 123
    • I saw a picture of San You know, Francisco once. your father There was a red and I were bridge and a brothers. building with a pointy top. Father never said he had a brother. Ehh, you’re winning again. You’re even better He didn’t than your father know. I didn’t at panjpar. either. They never told him. It scares me. What if I go to America and you get tired of me? I won’t ever get tired of you, Because Sohrab. You’re he was a my nephew, Hazara? remember? I don’t want to go to another orphanage. I won’t ever let that happen. I promise you that.124
    • So, let No, me get it straight: Smoke? thanks. you’re the boy’s half uncle? And the parents are dead? Yes… yes… Do you have That’s the way things are. documents to attest Without documents, we can’t to that? And what make an adoption request, about those and even if we had them, wounds? Afghanistan might not accept the request. After all… it’s a Muslim country, and I don’t know if… You’re telling me it’s impossible?! Death Not certificates? This impossible, is Afghanistan we’re just very talking about. Most improbable, people there don’t have Mr. Qadiri. birth certificates!As an attorney I believe , the winning hypothesis We’ll present the request form and I… Thank you would be… to leave meanwhile we’ll look for for everything, Thank your Sohrab here in an an agency to draw up Mr. Andrews. attorney not me! , orphanage, then make the request for the family report. Good-bye. adoption. Going Fine, that route, we’ll be in it could touch shortly . work… Good-bye. 125
    • At the embassy they think there’s a way to take you back to America… So we’re going? Well… it’s a bit more complicated You promised me I’d never go than that. They said it would be House back to an orphanage! That you’d much easier if you remained for kids? take me with you to San here for a time, in a house You mean an Francisco! To see the red for kids… orphanage? bridge! I know… I know what I promised you, Sohrab. But it would only be for a few months! God, no. It’s not Sohrab, true. Please! calm down! No… no! Everything will work out!126
    • Once he’s in, there are ways of keeping him Really? here, probably with a Just today the humanitarian visa. attorney was telling me… Yes, So… so we hello? can leave?! Never mind the attorney . Amir, dear, Kaka Sharif said it’s me! I the key was heard back getting Sohrab from Kaka Sharif, into the great news! United States. It’s really going to Sohrab!happen, Soraya, Sohrab, did huh? you hear? We can go! We can go to America now…It looks like it. I love you, my darling. Talk to you soon. 127
    • Sohrab… please, eat All I ask is that you let something. me keep my promise to you. Listen… I realize I I ask you to forgive me. To can’t give you back trust me again. So… will you your previous life. I come with me to America? can’t bring your family back. But I can offer you a new life, a free life. I came into the bathroom to tell you we can go.128
    • Qwerty on KAT for more Oh, Soraya, how good to see you! Amir jan… I missed you so much! Salaam, Sohrab jan, I’m your Khala Soraya. Amir’s told me You know, so much about you. I’m so he’s still a bit happy to meet you! I was confused over all waiting for you. that’s gone on… Plus, everything’s so new for him here… He’ll get used to it, it’s normal. Come on, let’s go now. 129
    • So? You want to tell us what happened in Afghanistan? You It’s okay . disappear for weeks and He’s quite right. People come back with a Hazara will ask. This is the answer: boy! Don’t you think my father slept with his we deserve an servant’s wife. She bore him a explanation? son named Hassan. Hassan, my brother, is dead now, and this boy is his son. Padar! Soraya and I will be raising him here as our son. Whoever asks, tell them the truth, because I’m proud of what I’ve done. Fine, And one more thing… You Amir jan. As will never again refer to you wish. him as “Hazara boy .” His name is Sohrab.130
    • It’s so good to have I know, it you both hardly seems here… true, even to me! What did you see, Sohrab? Kites! Hey, Sohrab, do you want to play too? , Come on, There, Sohrab! give me that kite! Like this! It’s perfect! There you go, thank you. You know, Sohrab, your father was the best kite runner in all of Kabul. Sohrab, do you want me to run that kite for you? Give me a bit more line, Sohrab…I’ll show you the trick your father and I Hurray! We used to win the kite won! Did you tournament! Keep see? watching… 131
    • For you, a thousand times over!132