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a. The early years in Kabul are charmed. Our protagonist, Amir, lives in a fairly posh house with his father, whom he calls Baba, and their servants, Ali and Hassan. (Who, if you're keeping score, are also a father and son duo.) Amir's mother died giving birth to him, and Hassan's mom ran off soon after he was born – so the two young boys both grow up without mothers. As the book likes to point out, they also share the same wet nurse (a woman who nursed them as babies). This apparently makes people very close.
There's some tension, though, in the household. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras, which means they're from an ethnic minority. They don't have the same status as Amir and Baba. Though Amir and Baba rarely toss off ethnic slurs at them, Ali gets some abuse from the neighborhood boys. To make things a bit more uncomfortable, Amir doesn't get nearly enough attention from his father. Baba seems to dislike Amir – he's weak and likes poetry instead of bloodthirsty sports, etc. In fact, it sometimes seems like Baba has more affection for his servant boy, Hassan
b. Yes it inspired him to write this wonderful story.
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