The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Amir’s life is dominated by two early influences: lack of connection with his father, and his link with his servant Hassan (hereditary servant, by ethnicity and family tradition). Hassan is exaggeratedly saintly: strong, brave, kindly, pure, humble, and loyal (oh so loyal). Amir is none of those things, envious, and well aware that he’s done nothing to earn the devotion he’s lavished with. So when those two influences come together (in a way that’s just a little too tidily plotted), he commits a great crime against Hassan and is left with a lifetime of guilt.

Amir and his father flee from war to America, where Amir thrives, caught up in the "great river" that allows him to forget. But then a message comes from Afghanistan, and he finds that the crime and lies in his family goes back farther than he thought, and (just as the state of the country keeps getting worse) the damage done to Hassan and his kin keeps accumulating. So Amir has a chance to stop the repetition of this process in his family, at least, by telling the whole truth and taking entire responsibility for the first time.

Although this novel is rather too pat, it’s pleasant, a heartwarming family drama. I read it in less than two days; it was just what I was in the mood for at the time.