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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Khaled Hosseini

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39,652107016 (4.21)1 / 745
Truly loved this book because of the loving relationship between the boy and his father and because it showed the overwhelming costs and ruination caused by the Taliban in Afghanistan. ( )
  GaleGirl | Apr 25, 2012 |
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Muy bueno de verdad de verdad me gusto mucho ( )
  HectorAguirre | Apr 13, 2016 |
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 sonstheir love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvases of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subjectthe devastating history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut.
  Phuong_Susu | Apr 5, 2016 |
Not my kind of book, but I did find it enjoyable to read. Beautiful end. ( )
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
BookRiot Read Harder Challenge 2016 | Task 13: A book set in the Middle East ( )
  Bodagirl | Mar 21, 2016 |
He's a good writer and the story has some power. It just seemed to lack whatever is needed to get it past the "just fairly good" range. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Took me a long time to read this book because I found the subject matter difficult to accept but was also pulled back to it until I finished it. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
At first, it took me a bit to get into the story but I'm glad I stuck with it. While there are quite a few words that most won't know unless they speak Afghan, it was a wonderful story. My heart went out to Amir and his loved ones at they struggles they went through. To see Afghanistan through the eyes of a child and then through a man who knew the country at a time of peace. There were quite a few surprises and lots of adventure. I was moved to tears at times and it was evident how strong the bond of friendship can last no matter the distance. I would highly recommend this book to someone wanting to see this particular world from someone who wants peace and to right wrongs. Looking forward to the next book by this author. ( )
  Eire2011 | Mar 11, 2016 |
Terrific book! ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |

[edit] Part I
Amir, a well-to-do Pashtun boy, and Hassan, a Hazara and the son of Amir's father's servant, Ali, spend their days in a peaceful Kabul, kite fighting, roaming through the streets and being boys. Amir’s father,a wealthy Kabul merchant who traces his ancestry back to the Pashtuns, (who is generally referred to as Baba, "daddy", throughout the book) loves both the boys, but seems critical of Amir for not being manly enough. Amir secretly fears his father blaming him for his mother’s death during childbirth. However, he has a kind father figure in the form of Rahim Khan, Baba’s friend, who understands Amir better, and is supportive of his interest in writing stories. Amir tells us that his first word was 'Baba' and Hassan's "Amir,' suggesting that Amir looked up most to Baba, while Hassan looked up to Amir.

Assef, a notoriously mean and violent older boy with sadistic tendencies, blames Amir for socializing with a Hazara, which is, according to Assef, an inferior race that should only live in Hazarajat. He prepares to attack Amir with his brass knuckles, but Hassan bravely stands up to him, threatening to shoot out Assef's left eye with his slingshot. Assef and his henchmen back off, but Assef says he will take revenge.

Hassan is a successful "kite runner" for Amir, knowing where the kite will land without even watching it. One triumphant day, Amir wins the local tournament, and finally Baba's praise. Hassan goes to run the last cut kite, a great trophy, for Amir saying "For you, a thousand times over." Unfortunately, Hassan runs into Assef and his two friends. Hassan refuses to give up Amir's kite, so Assef exacts his revenge by raping Hassan. Hassan did not give up the kite because he wanted Amir's respect. Wondering why Hassan is taking so long, Amir searches for Hassan and hides when he hears Assef's voice. He witnesses the rape but is too scared to intervene, and returns home in shame, guilty for not being able to help his best friend in a grave situation. He feels that his cowardice in Hassans's rape would destroy any hopes for Baba's affections, so he let it be. Afterwards, for some time Hassan and Amir keep a distance from each other. Amir reacts indifferently because he feels ashamed, and is frustrated by Hassan's saint-like behavior. Already jealous of Baba's love for Hassan, he worries if Baba knew how bravely Hassan defended Amir's kite, and how cowardly Amir acted, that Baba's love for Hassan would grow even more.

Amir, filled with guilt on his birthday, cannot enjoy his gifts.[2] The only thing to him that does not feel like "blood" money is the book given to him by Rahim Khan, his father's friend and the only one Amir felt really understands him.

To force Hassan to leave, Amir frames him by planting a watch and some money under Hassan's mattress from his melancholy birthday party; Hassan falsely confesses. Baba forgives him, despite the fact that, as he explained earlier, he believes that "there is no act more wretched than stealing." Hassan and his father Ali, to Baba's extreme sorrow, leave anyway. Hassan's departure frees Amir of the daily reminder of his cowardice and betrayal, but he still lives in their shadow and his guilt.

[edit] Part II
Five years later, the Soviets invade Afghanistan. Amir and Baba escape to Peshawar, Pakistan and then to Fremont, California, USA, where Amir and Baba, who lived in luxury in an expensive mansion in Afghanistan, settle in a run-down apartment and Baba begins work at a gas station. Amir eventually takes classes at a local community college to develop his writing skills after he graduates from high school at the age of twenty. Every Sunday, Baba and Amir make extra money selling used goods at a flea market in San Jose. There, Amir meets fellow refugee Soraya Taheri and her family; Soraya's father, General Taheri, who used to be a high-ranking officer in Afghanistan, has contempt of Amir's literary aspiration. Baba is diagnosed with terminal small cell carcinoma but is still capable of granting Amir one last favor: he asks Soraya's father's permission for Amir to marry her. He agrees and the two marry. Shortly thereafter Baba dies. Amir and Soraya settle down in a happy marriage, but to their sorrow learn that they cannot have children.

Amir embarks on a successful career as a novelist. Fifteen years after his wedding, Amir receives a call from Rahim Khan, who is dying from an illness. Rahim Khan asks Amir to come to Pakistan. He enigmatically tells Amir, "There is a way to be good again." Amir goes.

[edit] Part III
From Rahim Khan, Amir learns the fates of Ali and Hassan. Ali was killed by a land mine. Hassan had a wife, named Farzana, and a son, named Sohrab, and had returned to Baba’s house as a caretaker at Rahim Khan’s request. One day, the Taliban ordered him to give up the house and leave, but he refused, and was murdered, along with Farzana. Rahim Khan reveals that Ali was not really Hassan's father. Hassan was actually the son of Baba, and therefore Amir's half-brother. Finally, Rahim Khan tells Amir that the true reason he has called Amir to Pakistan is to go to Kabul to rescue Hassan's son, Sohrab, from an orphanage.

Rahim Khan asks Amir to bring Sohrab to John and Betty Caldwell who own an orphanage.[3] Amir becomes angry; he feels angry and cheated because Rahim Khan lets him know that Hassan was his half-brother.[4] Amir finally rethinks the past events and decides to go to Kabul to get Sohrab.[5] To Kabul, Amir rides in a taxi with Farid, his car driver.[6]

Amir returns to Taliban-controlled Kabul with a guide, Farid, and searches for Sohrab at the orphanage. In order to enter Taliban territory, Amir, who is normally clean shaven, wears a fake beard and moustache, otherwise the Taliban would exact Sharia punishment against him. However, he does not find Sohrab where he was supposed to be: the director of the orphanage tells them that a Taliban official comes often, brings cash, and usually takes a girl back with him. Once in a while however, he takes a boy, recently Sohrab. The director tells Amir to go to a soccer match, and the man making speeches at half-time is the man who took Sohrab. Farid manages to secure an appointment with the speaker at his home, by saying that he and Amir have "personal business" with him.

At the house, Amir has a meeting with the man. The man in sunglasses reveals himself to be Assef, Amir's childhood nemesis. Assef is aware of Amir's identity from the very beginning, but Amir doesn't realize it is Assef sitting across from him until Assef starts asking about Ali, Baba, and Hassan. Sohrab is being kept at the home where he is made to dance dressed in women's clothes, and it seems Assef might have been raping him. (Sohrab later confirms this saying, "I'm so dirty and full of sin. The bad man and the other two did things to me.") Assef agrees to relinquish him, but only for a price - cruelly beating Amir. However, Amir is saved when Sohrab uses his slingshot to shoot out Assef's left eye, fulfilling the threat Hassan had made many years before.

One day, Amir asks Farid to find information about John and Betty Caldwell. (305) When Farid returns, he tells Amir that the American couple do not exist.[7]

Amir tells Sohrab of his plans to take him back to America and possibly adopt him, and promises that he will never be sent to an orphanage again. However, US authorities demand, among other things, paperwork as evidence of Sohrab's orphan status. After decades of war, this is all but impossible to get in Afghanistan where, as Amir says, many deceased aren't documented with a death certificate because they never even had a birth certificate. Amir tells Sohrab that he may have to break his promise about sending him to an orphanage, although, he explains, it would be a temporary measure to enable Amir and Soraya to adopt him. Upon hearing this, Sohrab attempts suicide. Amir eventually manages to take him back to the United States without placing him in an orphanage, and introduces him to his wife. However, Sohrab is emotionally damaged and refuses to speak or even glance at Soraya. This continues until his frozen emotions are thawed when Amir reminisces about his father, Hassan, while kite flying. Amir shows off some of Hassan’s tricks, and Sohrab begins to interact with Amir again. In the end Sohrab only shows a lopsided smile, but Amir takes to it with all his heart as he runs the kite for Sohrab, saying, "For you, a thousand times over."
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Excellent book. Absolutely loved every aspect of it. The plot was great, the characters were fleshed out, I could picture everything. ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said by others? This is an amazing story, tackling such broad themes of friendship/brotherhood, courage, sacrifice, betrayal and a quest for redemption set against the backdrop of pre- and post-war Afghanistan. A coming-of-age story that packs quite the punch, exposing the reader to the very soul of Amir, the story’s main character, in a brutally honest manner as Amir grows from a young child into a man who has to finally face something he has been trying to bury away for years. Hosseini’s writing is rich – dare I say provocative? – and presents the reader with a vivid image that stayed in this reader’s mind long after I had finished the story. For a debut novel, Hosseini has created a complex story of fragile relationships between fathers and sons, of the bonds between close friends, of the desire to correct a wrong and presents it to the reader with such beautiful, poignant, heart-rendering intimacy I was completely drawn into the story and even though parts of the story was painful to experience, I didn’t want it to end.

Overall, a remarkable and very memorable debut novel, worthy of all the praise that it has received and my best read so far in 2016! I can also highly recommend the audiobook version, read by the author. ( )
4 vote lkernagh | Feb 25, 2016 |
I'm late to the party of people who loved [The Kite Runner] by Khaled Hosseini. Well, maybe not "loved", but I liked it enough to give it 4 stars. I thought it was very well written for a debut book, and the story held my attention. He evoked a strong sense of place, especially in the Afghanistan portions of the book, and engagement with the characters. ( )
  countrylife | Feb 21, 2016 |
5***** and a ❤

An extraodinary work by a new author. Emotionally gripping. One of the best books I've ever read.

Amir is the son of a wealthy, pwerful, influential, larger-than-life Baba, and friends with Hassan, the son of Ali (Baba's servant). Amir is privileged and educated, but he envies Hassan's place in Baba's life. So when Hassan is attacked by local bullies Amir does nothing, and his guilt forces him to "steal" Hassan's good name so the servant is removed from the household. Years later, the Taliban has made life hell for those left in Afghanistan, and Amir, now a successful writer in the USA gets a call to return to Kabul - for there IS a way for Amir "to be good again." Heart-wrenching. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 8, 2016 |
The Kite runner tells the story of Amir, an Afghan with a complicated relationship with almost everyone and a self-professed lack of guts who lives in fear of the day when retribution will come for his childhood crimes.

This is a story about family and brotherhood and society and how it treats people. It's also triggery as fuck and features the rape of children rather heavily as a plot device. So, yeah, avoid if that's an issue for you.

I enjoyed the majority of this book. I liked how messed up and flawed the main character was and how society enabled him to be the way he was. I liked how the characters emotions were explored and how the entire thing felt like one big mess.

I disliked the reliance on melodrama. The book lost points with me for how it ends. SPOILERS. Because it's not tragic enough that this poor child was repeatedly raped, he had to try and commit suicide. It didn't even make sense in a plot-related way as it took away from the sense of redemption at the end of the book - of someone who's finally decided to do the right thing with his life. ( )
  TPauSilver | Feb 5, 2016 |
Enlightening. We see these people on the tv and we have no ideas what their lives are like. ( )
  Koren56 | Feb 4, 2016 |
Unbelievable imagery - I can still remember this book, which is not so usual for me. Looking forward to reading the new novel out by this author if it doesn't come due before I have a chance. I'm a library person, not really into buying books as a general rule. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
A book recommended to me by a friend. This was not the read I was expecting. I believe it has since been made into a film of the same name. I did get a surprise near the end of the book, but otherwise found it nothing more than a GOOD light read. Although I must confess, I listened to it as an audiobook, and with hind sight maybe I'd give an extra half star. ( )
  Fliss88 | Jan 24, 2016 |
The story really takes you there and is beautifully told, very descriptive and detailed. The father-son relationship could play out in any culture, as does the main theme of guilt and regret over past mistakes. Sad, but it also promises hope. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
One of my all time favorites; right up there with To Kill a Mocking Bird ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
One of my all time favorites; right up there with To Kill a Mocking Bird ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Kite Runner review
The Kite Runner is a dynamic story of the struggles of a boy as he attempts to overcome his inner demons and recreate his life after a tragedy. The story begins in the childhood of a boy and then follows him into his later life where he tries to right the wrongs which have been haunting him. This struggle has real emotion and this is expertly portrayed to the reader by Hosseini. Additionally the story does not let the quite explicit and obscene scenes which are involved in it hinder the story or turn of the reader. They are down tastefully. Finally the story stays with the reader and has a lasting effect. This speaks to its power. Overall Hosseini pairs an excellent story with masterful writing in order to write a novel that is both appealing and powerful. Although there are some scenes which are somewhat obscene and could be unappealing to some, I would strongly recommend The Kite Runner to a peer. ( )
  Joseph_Hubner | Jan 20, 2016 |
Unlike The Lovely Bones, which was on the bestseller list forever and I hated, I liked this, a lot. It just wasn't the best book ever for me. I did enjoy the depiction of the other places and cultures. ( )
  susan259 | Jan 20, 2016 |
I don't know why I waited so long to begin this book. It was incredible. The writing kept me riveted; the characters so clearly defined, the places so easy to picture. The story and characters' behavior both heart-breaking and redeeming will stay with me. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
I struggled to get through this. It was so slow at times, reading it seemed like work. ( )
  Marion_B | Jan 19, 2016 |
An incredibly well written book that I never want to read again. (Nor do I ever want to read anything like it.) ( )
  Belles007 | Jan 17, 2016 |
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