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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Khaled Hosseini

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37,805101616 (4.21)1 / 668
Title:The Kite Runner
Authors:Khaled Hosseini
Info:Riverhead Trade (2004), Paperback, 372 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:audio book, library

Work details

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 904 (next | show all)
This book was well written. There are some topics in the book that are heavy, but regardless the story plot was excellent. It felt authentic. ( )
  monic.lindsey | Dec 4, 2014 |
I listened to the audiobook on this one. It was read by the author.

This was a very enjoyable book. I didn't know if I would like it when it started but as I got into it I really liked it. ( )
  Kathryn_Brown | Dec 1, 2014 |
Numerous people told me to read The Kite Runner before I finally read it months later in one day flat. Amir, an Afghan boy of a wealthy background lives in Kabul with his father and two servants. One of the servants, Hassan, is a boy Amir's age with whom he has a strange and somewhat uneasy friendship, mainly due to the caste system that essentially likens Hassan to scum. One winter day after a kite tournament that Amir wins, Hassan gets abused terribly by a neighborhood chump and Amir watches on without doing anything. This not only ruins his friendship with Hassan, but haunts him for the rest of his life, even after he evacuates Afghanistan with his father for a new life in San Francisco, marries, and goes on to become a successful writer after attending college. It isn't until Amir receives a phone call from Rahim Khan, a father figure of his who evacuated to Pakistan years after Amir sis, that Amir has a chance to redeem himself.

One of the things I enjoyed most about The Kite Runner was the emotional development evident in Amir over the decades that this story took place in. Hosseini manages to maintain the essence of Amir's being while making the transitions from childhood to manhood evident. While the characters in The Kite Runner suffered much over the span of the novel, I found that in them was a great capacity for love that sustained them through their darkest hours and in the end, it's an act of love that redeems Amir and rights the past. All in all, I'm very glad that I read The Kite Runner, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone ages sixteen and older looking for a poignant yet touching read. ( )
  literarybuff | Nov 4, 2014 |
Plot -- 20 out of 20 points

For anyone baffled by the Afghan conundrum, this book is the perfect introduction to the complexities of the cultural divide within a country ravaged by endless war and religious conflicts. Kite running was a popular national custom for children, especially in the days before the Taliban. Fiercely competitive and fraught with perils (strings dipped in shattered glass can cut the opponent’s kite free, but they can also injure the kite runner), these tournaments brought great rewards to the winners and shame to the losers. The Pashtuns (Sunni Muslims) are long-time oppressors of the Hazara people (Shi’a Muslims). Amir, the privileged son of Baba, a wealthy man, forms a friendship with Hassan, the son of Baba’s loyal family servant, Ali. Raised together as children, the boys are eventually pushed apart by a series of ugly secrets and heartbreaking cruelty. Cast aside, the brutalized Hassan never falters in his belief in Amir, even through Amir’s own doubts about himself and the world; Hassan’s unfailing love for his friend becomes Amir’s emotional albatross. How can such a humble human being like Hassan, son of a servant, be so forgiving and believe in something far greater than what the privileged son of Baba understands?

Characters -- 20 out of 20 points

Dr. Hosseini has a knack for creating all-too-human characters, with frailties and faults that sometimes push them to the very edge of moral decency. Amir learns early to conceal his own weaknesses by focusing on his social status, even as his conscience foments shame and inflames his inner turmoil. He knows that Hassan is a good and true friend, far more worthy of respect for his actions than Amir is. His jealousy, over the affection his father, Baba, shows the young Hazara, just seems to feed the demons in Amir. But it is the relationships Amir has with Ali, his father’s servant, and the wise Rahim Khan that prove to be his salvation in the end, allowing him to find his way back to the goodness that Hassan represents in a war-weary Afghanistan years later. In that return, Amir discovers his true purpose in life. Baba’s complicated personality was shaped by events hidden from Amir’s view over decades, and Amir, feeling betrayed, must come to grips with the imperfections of other human beings before he can address his own. That he has a wife like Soraya is part of that healing; her strength and determination to forge a better life in the United States after fleeing Afghanistan pushes him to be a better man, even as they cannot agree on what it will take to make him so. For Amir, the real test of courage comes when he returns to Afghanistan and finally confronts the devil he most fears, not by choice, but by necessity. It is that moment that defines him as a human being and lifts him out of the vice of that holds him down. Letting go of tribal Afghan conformity in favor of a greater recognition of humanity becomes his freedom, and he severs the old mindset like a champion kite runner slices the string of a competitor’s kite.

Setting -- 20 out of 20 points
The story takes place over decades and moves from Afghanistan to Pakistan to the United States, and then back again. The changes that these societies go through as the years pass, along with the perils that remain, highlight the tragedy of a nation, Afghanistan, that seems locked into unending war. This fictional story offers a window of understanding into that puzzle. The tragic journey of the refugees as they flee, the struggles of the Afghan community in the United States as people try to assimilate, brings home the reality that there are always trade-offs in leaving the old life for the new. Baba, the once-wealthy man, is forced to take a job as a gas station attendant just to keep a roof over his and Amir’s heads. It’s a sober reminder that, in the end, the hardships faced by humans are sometimes unavoidable; despite the best efforts to improve our lot in life, we are sometimes defeated by physical circumstances until we understand that our faith in and love for our fellow humans can raise us up through the darkness. That is the triumph of spirit.

Pacing -- 19 out of 20 points
As the book opens, the reader is drawn into the world of two young boys. Their idyllic days of playing together, sharing adventures, seem perfect, but little by little, the reality of Afghan life begins to intrude on their friendship, driving a wedge between them. By then, the reader has already begun to feel for both boys. That emotional connection begins to tear the reader apart when sympathy for one boy’s plight is challenged by a conscience desire for justice for the other boy. Amir retreats into his own selfish cocoon, hoping to save himself even as Hassan is sacrificed. It’s hard not to feel dread as the inhumane acts pile up across Afghanistan. The strength of the tribal culture within Afghanistan is apparent as those in charge mete out harsh punishment for any who defy the demands of society. Individuals are forced to choose between acting out of conscience and conforming for the sake of survival.

Tone -- 19 out of 20 points

While much of the book focuses on the harsh realities of Afghan life, the author paints his portraits of individuals with the deftness of an illuminist, adding little glimmers of light to all but the most closed-minded of cretins. The reader’s sense of uncertainty never quite fades, but neither does the hope that one day Afghan will find its way. This book was written more than a decade ago; in the current climate of Islamic jihad that has taken over parts of Syria, Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East in the hope of creating an Islamic caliphate, it still stands as an important story for any reader who yearns to understand how things can become so twisted. What allows the Afghan people to tolerate the cruelty of the Taliban? What allows them to view women as property and the Hazara as servants? The complicated answer to that is revealed in the lives of two young boys whose paths diverge and later reemerge, their bonds woven together like a primitive tribal rug in a pattern created centuries ago and passed down through the generations. ( )
  sarambarton | Oct 16, 2014 |
The novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is about redemption and reveals that people have regrettable actions they want to recover from and fix. The story is about Amir’s life from when cowered away from saving his best friend, Hassan, from being brutally attacked to feeling guilty about it through his life until he saves Hassan’s child Sohrab. Amir feels like he has fully redeemed himself after he takes Sohrab back to his house and wife and teaches him about kite fighting.
I think Hosseini’s uses of brutal and vivid images to fully capture the severity and malevolents of the different character's actions makes the story more interesting to read. He implicitly puts Amir’s regret into the story by having Amir feel down and depressed about life and his sad memories of Hassan and him together. I enjoyed reading about Amir’s whole emotional transition and the different aspects of it from feeling happy and upbeat to feeling guilty and down to feeling relieved and guilt free at the end of the story. I also liked how the author embedded values that are intertwined in Amir’s emotional change, like Baba teaching Amir to be strong and stand up to what he believes in. Some of the parts of the book that were not my favorite when I was reading it are when Amir is first with his wife wife and some of the time after their marriage. I understood the point of those sections closer to the end of the book, but they seemed boring and prolonged when I did not understand how it correlated with Hassan and his guilt. ( )
  ColeJP5 | Oct 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 904 (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.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Khaled Hosseiniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andolfo, MirkaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Celoni, FabioIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fort, Isabel MurilloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middelthon, Elisabet W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaj, IsabellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werner, HoniCover designersecondary 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.
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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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:43 -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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