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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Khaled Hosseini

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40,298108416 (4.21)1 / 797
Title:The Kite Runner
Authors:Khaled Hosseini
Info:Riverhead Trade (2004), Paperback, 372 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 970 (next | show all)
“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime...”

This novel is split into three parts, the first and third in Afghanistan whilst the middle is set in America, and centres around a young Afghani male named Amir. Amir's mother dies in childbirth so he lives with his father, Baba, in Kabul. They have a Hazara servant called Ali whose son Hassan is a year younger than Amir and he too grows up without a mother.

Growing up Amir's life is one of privilege and able to go to school. In contrast Hassan stays at home and carries out household. However despite their differing social status Amir and Hassan are playmates during their free time. Living in a single-parent home, Amir yearns for his father’s attention but in truth they find that they have little in common.

Both Amir and Hassan know the social gap that defines their identities. In Afghan culture, Amir is a Pashtun and Hassan is a Hazara, a minority ethnic group which makes him a servant. Religious difference also sets them apart, even though they both are Muslim: Amir is Sunni, and Hassan is Shia. Pashtuns, the majority ethnic group in Afghanistan view Hazaras as inferior.

Amir is not disturbed with his servant-master friendship until aged twelve he wins a kite flying contest and in the aftermath sees Hassan brutally attacked by the local bully whilst he merely looked on, failing to intervene. After this the relationship between the two boys changes. Hassan’s presence reminds Amir of his own guilt so he engineers a way in which Hassan and his father are forced to leave Kabul.

A few years later Russia invades Afghanistan and Amir and his father emigrate to the United States via Pakistan. In America Baba is forced to take a menial job and finds it difficult to adjust to the cultural and economic challenges of living in the United States. In contrast Amir finds the transition easier majors in English and goes onto pursue a writing career. Whilst working with his father at the local flea market, Amir falls in love and marries a fellow Afghan immigrant Soraya,

After many years of living in America and after the death of his father from cancer Amir returns to Pakistan to learn that Hassan was actually his half-brother and that he and his wife have been killed leaving a son, Sohrab, now an orphan in Kabul. Afghanistan is now under the brutally oppressive control of the Taliban so to help atone for his own guilt Amir embarks on a dangerous journey back to Kabul to rescue Sohrab, his nephew.

This novel is wide ranging in its scope and as such there are various themes throughout. Love in particular that between father and son, social class and ethnic tensions, the immigrant experience but undoubtedly the most important are betrayal and redemption.

When Amir fails to help Hassan when he is attacked he betrays their friendship and tries to deal with his guilt by avoiding it. However, in doing so he fails in any way to redeem himself and so the guilt endures. Then when he finds out the truth about Hassan's parentage he realizes that what he understood about his father was false. And Amir himself feels betrayed however Baba is dead and as such there is nothing he can do about it. In contrast he realises that he can atone for his own betrayal of Hassan by rescuing Sohrab and giving his nephew the chance at happiness that was denied to his half-brother.

On the whole I found this a very enjoyable read and liked the author's writing style however, for me it was just missing a little something (I've no idea what) that would have made this a great read. A very commendable effort all the same which I would certainly recommend. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Oct 1, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Afghanistan — wealth/lost
Guilty — do the right thing

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
  christinejoseph | Sep 24, 2016 |
Its ten years since i read this book and yet I still get a lot of emotions thinking about it. Its about the love between brothers, the difference when they grow up and live different lives. Its about ritch and poor, wonderful :)
  MalinHagman | Sep 15, 2016 |
Have resisted picking up this book as I saw it as popular fiction. But am glad to admit I was wrong, it deserves its popularity. Themes such as courage, redemption and friendly sure resonate with me and I am glad to say thank God I read it. ( )
  siok | Aug 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 970 (next | show all)
The Kite Runner begins in Afghanistan with a boy named Amir and his father living happy but after the threat of Soviet forces they flee to America then soon after in the book, Amir's father dies. Later on in the story Amir is wedded to his wife but then he is called upon by his fathers old friend to return to Afghanistan and then later on he ends up saving a boy, the son of a child hood friend, named Sohrab and that gives Amir his redemption
added by CRosss | editLos Angeles Times, Cameron.Ross (Sep 10, 2014)
The Kite Runner is about the price of peace, both personal and political, and what we knowingly destroy in our hope of achieving that, be it friends, democracy or ourselves.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Observer, Amelia Hill (Sep 7, 2003)
At times, the book suffers from relentless earnestness and somewhat hackneyed descriptions. But Hosseini has a remarkable ability to imprison the reader in horrific, shatteringly immediate scenes... The result is a sickening sensation of complicity.
added by Shortride | editTime, Aryn Baker (Sep 1, 2003)
This powerful first novel, by an Afghan physician now living in California, tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love.
il était un enfant calme. le calme est synonyme de paix. de tranquillité. le calme, c'est lorsqu'on pousse la manette volume de la vie vers le bas.
il marchait comme s'il avait peur de laisser des traces de pas derrière lui. il se déplaçait comme s'il souhaitait ne pas créer le moindre mouvement d'air.
added by fati.mokhtari | editFZ

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Khaled Hosseiniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andolfo, MirkaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Celoni, FabioIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bourgeois, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horn, Miebeth vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo Fort, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Naujokat, AngelikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaj, IsabellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, HoniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windgassen, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to
Haris and Farah, both
the noor of my eyes,
and to the children
of Afghanistan.
First words
I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.
I see now that Baba was wrong, there is a God, there always had been. I see Him here, in the eyes of the people in this corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him, not the white masjid, with its bright diamond lights and towering minarets. There is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to him in my hour of need.
For you, a thousand times over.
I see America has infused you with the optimism that has made her so great.
"But better to get hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie".
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
This novel presents life in Afghanistan before the revolution and the Russian invasion. The author describes the customs and culture of the Afghan people and the difficulty of immigrants trying to adapt to American life. Most of all, this is a story of friendship, family, betrayal, and redemption. There are intense images, but the book is very powerful and well-written. The 2007 movie was based on this book.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0747566534, Paperback)

In his debut novel, The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini accomplishes what very few contemporary novelists are able to do. He manages to provide an educational and eye-opening account of a country's political turmoil--in this case, Afghanistan--while also developing characters whose heartbreaking struggles and emotional triumphs resonate with readers long after the last page has been turned over. And he does this on his first try.

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty. In part, it is these demons and the sometimes impossible quest for forgiveness that bring him back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. ("...I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.")

Some of the plot's turns and twists may be somewhat implausible, but Hosseini has created characters that seem so real that one almost forgets that The Kite Runner is a novel and not a memoir. At a time when Afghanistan has been thrust into the forefront of America's collective consciousness ("people sipping lattes at Starbucks were talking about the battle for Kunduz"), Hosseini offers an honest, sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, but always heartfelt view of a fascinating land. Perhaps the only true flaw in this extraordinary novel is that it ends all too soon. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:04 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons-their love, their sacrifices, their lies.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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