It is very rare that one learns a lot about a never-seen-country at approximately the same time in two forms of communication media: a novel and a film. I happened to read The Kite Runner and see The Road to Guantanamo just about the same time. They both spoke a lot about Afghanistan.
While the latter, like Bollywood Kabul Express, concentrated mainly post 9/11/2001, the novel on the other hand explicitly narrated the riches that Afghanistan once held. And then, slowly, agonisingly, painfully, it spurns the story about how the country became what it is today. And the author, Khaled Hosseini, hailing from Afghanistan but now staying in US, laments about the dear country that Afghanistan once was...
For some reason, its always truly fascinating to know one's rise and fall.....be it a man, or a country.
1. While the novel does touch upon the country, it isnt really all about the country by itself. The story is about sinning, of repenting, of redemption, of a lost brotherly love, of being a failure, of staying as Afghans in US, of beautiful characterization, and in essence, an excellent read.
2. The movie is a true-story about a UK settled Pakistani groom Asif (and his friends) being tortured in Guantanamo bay by Americans for being erroneously suspected as Taliban-ites. The film ends saying, post 9/11, in Guantanamo, 750 suspects were imprisoned, 500 still there, 10 charged but none have ever been found guilty of any crime. Asif finally could get married on 7/2/2005.