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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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The Kite Runner (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Khaled Hosseini

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38,545103216 (4.21)1 / 692
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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The Kite Runner was one book that came highly recommended. Every other fellow bibliophile kept asking me if I had read the book . I decided it was high time I read the book that was making waves.
When I finished reading the book, I simply wondered how I had missed reading such a good book. One thing that surprised me more was that, it was written by a first timer
The story is about the relationship between two Afghani boys, Hassan & Amir (Who turn out to be half brothers in the end of the story!) narrated by Amir. Hassan is initially portrayed simply as Amir's father's servant's son.But as the story moves on, the truth unfolds.Hassan has this uncanny ability to predict where exactly a downed kite will fall. Amir & Hassan participate in the annual Kite Fighting event in their province. Amir wins the fight and Hassan becomes Amir's “Kite Runner” to fetch the runner-up's downed kite.
On the way to fetch the downed kite, Hassan is cornered by the Haraza hating bully kids and they do something unspeakable and unforgivable. Amir witnesses this but he doesn't prevent it from happening. Not because there was nothing he could do, he just doesn't have the backbone to fight. Not even for his best friend.
After the incident, everything changes. Virtually everything. The relationship between Amir & Hassan, Kabul is bombed by Russians, Amir escapes to America with his father becomes a writer and gets married too.
Now comes the most important part of the story. That part which made me feel sad for an entire day after reading the book. That part which I really don't want to write about for it will be the ultimate spoiler.
For a new comer, Hosseini has done exceptionally well. The book is filled with heavy emotions and is one for some one who cries at the drop of the hat. The description of Afghanistan is beautiful and is an eye opener for people (like me) who have a wrong idea about the country.
Its that kind of a book one must really read in a life time. ( )
  bookandink | Aug 19, 2015 |
The Kite Runner was one book that came highly recommended. Every other fellow bibliophile kept asking me if I had read the book . I decided it was high time I read the book that was making waves.
When I finished reading the book, I simply wondered how I had missed reading such a good book. One thing that surprised me more was that, it was written by a first timer
The story is about the relationship between two Afghani boys, Hassan & Amir (Who turn out to be half brothers in the end of the story!) narrated by Amir. Hassan is initially portrayed simply as Amir's father's servant's son.But as the story moves on, the truth unfolds.Hassan has this uncanny ability to predict where exactly a downed kite will fall. Amir & Hassan participate in the annual Kite Fighting event in their province. Amir wins the fight and Hassan becomes Amir's “Kite Runner” to fetch the runner-up's downed kite.
On the way to fetch the downed kite, Hassan is cornered by the Haraza hating bully kids and they do something unspeakable and unforgivable. Amir witnesses this but he doesn't prevent it from happening. Not because there was nothing he could do, he just doesn't have the backbone to fight. Not even for his best friend.
After the incident, everything changes. Virtually everything. The relationship between Amir & Hassan, Kabul is bombed by Russians, Amir escapes to America with his father becomes a writer and gets married too.
Now comes the most important part of the story. That part which made me feel sad for an entire day after reading the book. That part which I really don't want to write about for it will be the ultimate spoiler.
For a new comer, Hosseini has done exceptionally well. The book is filled with heavy emotions and is one for some one who cries at the drop of the hat. The description of Afghanistan is beautiful and is an eye opener for people (like me) who have a wrong idea about the country.
Its that kind of a book one must really read in a life time. ( )
  bookandink | Aug 19, 2015 |
Hmmm...where to begin. I'm not sure I've had as intense an experience reading a book as I did with this one (except reading Breaking Dawn, which caused physical illness). I have learned about myself that I have become too sensitive and need disclaimers on my books. I'm going to have to start reading the back covers, providing a checklist to my friends to fill out before I enter the book: Does it contain graphic images of child molestation or any forms of sexual abuse? Does it have a protagonist that you want to choke? Does every lovable character suffer tremendously while the ones who SHOULD suffer are just fine? Will this novel leave me nauseous, angry, and shattered? If so, please tell me. I'm no longer interested.

This novel left me feeling bereft and spent. I went through surges of intense emotion throughout, which I usually crave in a reading experience, except that all of my emotions were negative. Usually, if my eyes sting and swell when I'm reading, or I'm curled in a ball sobbing on the couch, that's a GOOD thing--my sadness is somewhat welcome and pleasant (hard to describe), like when you know that what's happening was an inevitable, natural part of life and it sure does suck. I didn't cry reading this novel. I just erupted in anger, bitterness, depression, rejection, and the feeling that Hosseini hated Amir as much as I do so what is the point of continuing on? I almost quit repeatedly, and only made it through because I felt it was the right thing to do. The ending could have been redeeming, but I feel that Hosseini made a terrible mistake toward the end (with the broken promise) and just caused the lovable characters unnecessary extra suffering for no apparent purpose. So the ending was just okay. Okay. It kept me from hating the book, and made me realize that it was "good fiction" in the sense that it's a worthy read (follows all the rules), but just not for me. I DO see why my friends have given it 5 stars, and maybe I would have, too, at a different stage of my life.

Despite the plot, which caused me needless suffering, I did pick up more understanding of Afghan culture, and understanding where people come from is so important, so I did benefit somewhat from this novel.
Hosseini's writing is significantly better in his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, so if his writing seems somewhat immature in this one, do not give up on him. He improves his style of narration "a thousand times over." Less obvious foreshadowing, less cliche, and more subtly in his later work.

So while I recognize that this is quality literature, I wish I hadn't read it. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
I don't know why I put off reading this book for so long. I really enjoyed the whole story. To see Afghanistan through the eyes of a child in the beginning and to see how Afghanistan has changed through the same eyes as an adult.

Amir is the narrator of this story. To see how life was for him growing up, leaving Afghanistan when things start to change and then coming back to set somethings straight. I am not that familiar with the lifestyle in Afghanistan and reading about it written by a person that was born in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Amir is friends with a Hazara boy who is also his servant's son. The things they get themselves into are typical of all children. I will be picking up the second book by this Khaled Hosseini. ( )
  crazy4reading | Jul 18, 2015 |
I decided to get out of my usual reading habits and take a chance on this book which is fiction, but in a much too real Afghanistan.

This is one of the best book I have read in a couple of years, period. The writing is phenomenal, and you get to truly care, not only for the characters, but for Afghanistan itself and the people currently living there.

Would I recommend this book? "For you, a thousand times over" ( )
1 vote kinwolf | Jul 6, 2015 |
Worthy but not brilliant. Indeed, fairly dull. I finished it more out of a sense of duty to the subject matter than anything else. ( )
  Vivl | Jun 26, 2015 |
Maybe it's because I'm getting older and seeing how much of a mess life can be, but I don't usually appreciate books where everything neatly fits together. This is one of those books, but it seems destined to be so, and proves a point by doing it. The descriptions of memories are beautiful, and the child's remorse so sympathetic, that the perpetual references to the one seminal event in the child's life is not as tiring as it could have been. Really good story, didn't want to put it down. Hopeful. ( )
  MargaretPinardAuthor | May 23, 2015 |
Going into The Kite Runner, I had no clue what it was going to be about whatsoever. I heard a few times it was a really good book and a quick read. Those rumors held true. I loved the book. The first part of the book focuses on Amir and the rest of the characters in his childhood and the disturbing event that defined his life. The 2nd part focused on his life in America and finally the 3rd part his chance at redemption. Each character had a good depth and I felt I had a understanding of each one and knew who they were. I liked the beginning of the novel the most. I felt that part did a good job laying down the background for the rest of the book so I had a emotional connection with what I was reading. In the beginning of the novel I remember thinking Baba was Hassan's father but I ignored it because everyone could tell he was Hazara, so when it was revealed later on it was still shocking. The disturbing scene was done in a way that made it haunting but not over the top, which is good because it's creepy if its in such detail. I would of liked to of read more detail in the 2nd part after Hassan and Ali left, because it seemed like Amir and Baba got closer but we didn't really see how, just when they were in America they were already closer. The 3rd part was hard to read at times and parts annoyed me. I liked that it was revealed Baba was Hassan's father, I even liked how Rahim set up Amir into taking Sohrab. I didn't like how Assef was the same abuser, seemed a little too neatly done I guess and caused an eye roll. Since it was him I wanted to know if he knew Sohrab was Hassan's son. I know a lot of people didn't like how the end was with more tragic stuff happening on top of already tragic events, but I thought when Sohrab tried to take his own life after being promised to come to America to finding out maybe not yet was a intense scene, especially when he was tired of life after the attempt. That chapter got to me bad, and I think it was reasonable and accpeted that he was silent for a year even in America. The last chapter was great though, not a sappy ending but a ending that left on a positive note while also being in the right tone of the book, finally Amir is resolved and is connecting with Sohrab. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
I will start off by saying, yes, I read this because everybody is doing it. I now understand why. Yes, it was predictable, but there was one twist that made it worth it all. Hosseini did a remarkable job of painting a picture of Afghanistan as a beautiful place, one that I had not ever done for myself before. Just for that, I am glad I read this book. ( )
  katherineemilysmith | May 4, 2015 |
I have no words for this book. I wanted to give it 1-star for giving me so much heartbreak. It ended in an uncertain, happy note but still ever page is a heartbreak, every word a tear. It was a hard feat to read this book. Mr. Hosseini writes beautifully. He weaved a great story and created memorable, close to my heart characters. 5-stars for a riveting, life-changing book. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Apr 13, 2015 |
YALSA Alex 2004 Award. RGG: Fascinating insight into the culture of Afghanistan. Moving story about paternal love and friendship. Sexual Molestation.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 9, 2015 |
totally engaging book with good writing that shows even better potential. some parts were a bit predictable but it didn't really interfere with my enjoyment of the book. i like reading about characters who struggle with the versions of themselves they've created, and this is a nice example of that. also the literal and metaphoric idea of the kite runner is a good one to anchor the book; that was well done. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Mar 29, 2015 |
This was an interesting book. There was something about it that drew me in. I ended up reading it all in one sitting. Well listening, but the same thing. I think it was a combination of the prose and the characters. Something. I can see why so many people liked the book. I enjoyed reading about the middle eastern culture, the little that was portrayed in this book. I think I do recommend this book. :) ( )
  Kassilem | Mar 15, 2015 |
To read--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.
Set in Afghanistan over the course of 30 years.
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  cm37107 | Mar 5, 2015 |
Amir and Hassan have been close companions since birth in pre soviet Afghanistan. But Amir is from the ruling caste of Pashums and Hassan is from the impoverished servant class Hazara. Their peaceful world is shattered amidst the dying years of the Afghan monarchy in the 1970s and the rise of the Taliban. Amir abandons the loyal Hassan when he needs him the most. After many years of living with his guilt in America he finally seeks redemption when he learns that Hassan was actually his half-brother and makes the journey back to war torn Afghanistan.

I had absolutely no empathy for the self-absorbed main protagonist until more than halfway through the book and felt that the second half of the book was better than the first half. It's a powerful story and I shed tears for little Sohrab and the fate of Afghanistan. ( )
  boppisces | Feb 28, 2015 |
This book was a dichotomy. I simultaneously found it enlightening & trite, engrossing but unevenly paced, enlightening & bewildering. It was so hard to care about the protagonist. I was mostly hooked because I cared about the backround-the culture, the setting, the history. So I liked it but am not sure I could recommend it. ( )
  NetteinNJ | Jan 24, 2015 |
The Very very best book of my reading in 2014. Excellent!!! ( )
  leehua | Jan 10, 2015 |
READ IN DUTCH

I liked reading The Kite Runner. It's about a world I didn't know much about earlier. When I read this, I found out all kinds of new things, which made me understand some things I heard better. I liked the story line. First it's all peaceful but in the end your are reading a thriller. Definitely! I would recommend this book to anyone. It's one of those books you should have read! ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
Just an outstanding book - thoroughly enjoyed it ( )
  JRandolphT | Dec 28, 2014 |
A concise but lyrical prose takes us through a morally complex tale of guilt, betrayal, loyalty and love, as a man struggles to find redemption in an unjust world. Although the book begins in Afghanistan, the fabric of emotional pitfalls and successes are universal themes that transcend the outward differences of individual cultures, and demonstrate the commonality of the human spirit.

The story is touching and poignant, the narrator disconcertingly candid, and there are some moments of suspenseful confrontation. The cross-cultural differences between life in Afghanistan and that in America are also highlighted. Hosseini shows himself to be a writer of vision and sensitivity. I enjoyed reading this book. ( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
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 |
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 |
Excellent voice. Lots of twist. Boring in places, but worth the skim over to get back to the good. I love his descriptions. ( )
  imaginationzombie | Sep 28, 2014 |
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