The first three chapters set out the basic facts of the story, including who the major characters are, their backgrounds, and what their relationships with each other are like. The section also establishes a context for the information: Amir, our narrator, is an adult living in the United States and looking back on his childhood years in Afghanistan. In fact, history is an important theme in the novel, and looking back on the past is a recurring motif. That’s because, for Amir, the past is not over. He believes it to be a fundamental part of who he is, and no matter how far he is in time or location from his childhood in Afghanistan, the events of that period are always with him. Though it remains unclear why, he feels a tremendous sense of guilt about those events, and he believes they shaped him into who he is. This guilt, in fact, informs the entire narrative. Appropriately, he opens the novel in the present then quickly jumps back in time.
When United and Continental Airlines announced their merger in 2010, this combination paint scheme was unveiled marrying the Continental tail and fuselage with the United typeface. “Continented,” let’s call it. It’s a good-looking design, and we understand the sentiment, but doing away with United’s friendly and familiar “U” emblem was a mistake. The U — a feathery, truncated tulip in its final, pre-merger form — was never especially dashing, but Continental’s segmented globe, now in its place, is so boring that it looks like a PowerPoint slide. Also I miss the fully spelled “United Airlines,” used in the 1990s, which had more gravity than a lackadaisical “United.” And hold your breath: rumors say the carrier might be moving to a GMST-style side stripe in the near future.