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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Khaled Hosseini

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37,472100816 (4.21)1 / 666
GaleGirl's review
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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This book was definitely better than I expected. I had mainly heard taglines describing it as being about "The one event that changed both their lives forever..." but it wasn't about that at all. That was only a part of it. Really, this was about war, and also about the American immigrant experience. A very fascinating book. Overall, I think it was well-written. Downside: it felt very calculated, and every single thing of note came back in a more important role later in the book. It was too wrapped up in itself. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
A stunning first novel, with beautiful descriptions of Afghanistan before various conflicts broke out. It is a bittersweet tale of families, friendship, loyalyy and shame. I like the simplicity if Hosseini's language, but felt the story let him down somewhat. I was pleased to see there was no twee happy ending. ( )
  martensgirl | Sep 5, 2014 |
O caçador de pipas' conta a história de Amir, um afegão há muito imigrado para os Estados Unidos, que se vê obrigado a acertar as contas com o passado e retorna a seu país de origem. O ponto de partida do livro é a infância do protagonista, quando Cabul ainda não era a capital do país que foi invadido pela União Soviética, dominado pelos talibãs e subjugado pelos Estados Unidos. A história de Amir e Hassan, os personagens de 'O caçador de pipas', já conquistou o mundo. Publicado em 32 países, o romance é um best-seller internacional. 'O caçador de pipas' ganha, aqui no Brasil, uma edição especial, com capa dura, fotos do Afeganistão, especialmente feitas para o projeto dessa edição, e uma carta inédita do autor, Khaled Hosseini, comentando sobre a experiência de ser um escritor afegão estreante nos Estados Unidos depois do 11 de Setembro e sobre como ainda fica surpreso com a repercussão do livro pelas cartas que recebe de leitores de todo o mundo.
  melissa.gamador | Sep 4, 2014 |
I'm struggling to decide whether I liked the book, loved it or hated it with every single inch of my saddened heart. Seriously, it's been a very, very long time since a book touched me so deeply and made me shed so many tears. This book is all about the importance of family bonds, friendship, loyalty, everything written in a fluid, simple, easy language and yet Hosseini managed to turn this book into something deep, imbued with just too much meaning with so few words, it's not even funny.
I was unfortunate enough to get a couple of spoilers for the book (friendly advice: if you're in the middle of the book, it is NOT a good idea to check for the trailer of the movie's adaptation, as it contains mild spoilers), so nothing struck me as absolutely unexpected, yet the book still kept me trapped to its fascinating world until the very last page.
One of the best thing about this book is how it talked about the character's life in the US without patronizing the country, always making sure that Amir was a coherent character, with a heart deeply rooted in the values and traditions of his home country. It was also interesting to finally see a story by the point of view of someone most uninformed people consider a "terrorist".
I just can't seem to find words enough to express how this book change the way I saw Afghanistan, its people, its culture. I loved every single page of The Kite Runner and feel like it's going to leave an empty space in my heart... ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
A very brutal heart wrenching book that is at times very hard to read but worth persevering with for the experience. Not for the faint hearted, at no time did I find it happy or uplifting in any way. Just an intense story. ( )
  areadingmachine | Aug 19, 2014 |
This book reads like a kite. Just when it is going smoothly a strong wind pulls it and your stomach drops thinking it's all about to come crashing down. In the end, though, you'll feel like flying. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
Shortly after starting The Kite Runner I mentioned to someone that I had just started reading it. "Ah, I loved the first part of that book.", she said. I replied with "Oh? You didn't like the rest?" and got the answer: "Oh, I did. It's a good book."
It seemed like a strange thing to say at the time. Having now read the book myself, I think I know exactly what she meant.
The Kite Runner is a really good book for many reasons. It has some really beautiful moments, some really uncomfortable moments, and some moments that are just downright gut-punching. The raw and seemingly effortless way in which it conveys happiness, but also sadness, guilt, hopelessness, anger, and pain makes it a really special book.
At the root of it all is the story of a boy from Afghanistan, and the story of his life as he transitions from childhood to adulthood. With that comes a window into a culture, a way of living, and often a way of thinking that is foreign to me. Much of this is extremely interesting, but more importantly it also feels very real, and adds an extra layer to the story itself.
This book has so much going for it, and it is therefore a bit of a pity that I loved only the first part of it. Because, again, there are so many great things in this book. There are quite a few gear-changes in the story, which isn't a problem in itself, but during one of them I think the book loses some of its emotional intensity, and never quite manages to get it back. It goes from being an engrossing emotional story to being a story with plenty of engrossing emotional moments. While the latter is still good it's just not quite the same.
The Kite Runner is a really well done, solid, good, worthwhile read, and I'd recommend it to anyone. I just think it could have been a little bit more. ( )
  clq | Jul 29, 2014 |
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. ( )
  margaret.pinard | Jul 24, 2014 |
Kui ma olin punaseks nutetud silmadega ja tühja pilguga seina umbes viis minutit põrnitsenud, ütlesid kaks toas viibinud inimest mulle korraga, täpselt ühel ajal- ära loe enam seda raamatut.
Aga ma võtsin uue paki taskurätikuid ja lugesin ikkagi edasi. Ma pole ammu midagi nii head lugenud.

Kui me joonistame väga täpselt üles mõne kena päikeseloojangu, siis saame üsna kindlasti kriitikutelt sarjata. Suure tõenäosusega pole kompositsioon paigas ning kindlasti oleks see elutruu pilt ka liiga magus. Kui me elus kiigume või peegli lõhume, siis üldjuhul teeme me seda lihtsalt. Et meeldib või juhtus nii. Kui see aga sellisena raamatusse kirja panna, siis muutub see klišeeks. Kas pole veider?
Mina, selle raamatu toimetajana, oleksin päris karmilt mitu tegevusliini ära kärpinud. Samuti poleks vaja olnud hollywoodlikke "saatusepöördeid". Aga kas saab kirjanik parata, kui elu ise mängib sulle need piltlikud kujundid ja tasapinnad ning sümbolid kätte? Külm puhas valge lumi ja suured värvilised lohed sinise taeva, vabaduse, poole püüdlemas. On see kirjaniku tarkus need hetked elust üles noppida või mugavus ja mõttelaiskus?

Loe edasi
http://indigoaalane.blogspot.com/2011/01/khosseini-lohejooksja.html ( )
  Indigoaalane | Jul 18, 2014 |
Hmmm...I definitely went through stages with the book. For the first 100 pages, I truly hated the main character, Amir. He managed to save his name a bit toward the end. It was OK. I wouldn't read it again...but I might be interested in the movie that just came out. Not sure about reading the sequel yet.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Hmmm...I definitely went through stages with the book. For the first 100 pages, I truly hated the main character, Amir. He managed to save his name a bit toward the end. It was OK. I wouldn't read it again...but I might be interested in the movie that just came out. Not sure about reading the sequel yet.... ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Powerful and haunting indeed. Truly a modern classic. ( )
  trile1000 | Jul 7, 2014 |
I had to pause to ponder what I truly thought of the Kite Runner. For the most part, I have to say I’d recommend it. Reading about Afghanistan (culture, daily habits, ethnic struggles, wars, immigrants, etc.) was highly informative. The story itself has obvious plot twists (seriously, who didn’t see this coming…) and obvious heart tugs. But for me, they mostly worked (despite some conveniences, one involving a slingshot). Atonement and redemption – powerful themes – were delivered in this book combining well with father and son relationship, friendship, betrayal, guilt, honor, and loyalty.

The book is in three major segments though not specified as such. Part 1 is the past, where the transgressions took place. Amir, the son of the wealthy businessman, noted as Baba only, allows a crime to be done to his friend and boy servant of the house, Hassan. Amir worsens the situation when the guilt he feels leads him to further drive Hassan and his father, Ali, away from the house. Part 2 is the refugee/immigrant/re-settlement phase when Baba and Amir escapes Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion in 1979. Their new lives and the Afghan community in CA is addressed. Fast forward to 15 years after his marriage, Amir is summoned to Pakistan to visit Baba’s old friend, Rahim, to make right – “There is a way to be good again”. Part 3 contains the revealing of truths and the time for atonement and redemption by rescuing Hassan’s son from Afghanistan.

When I finished reading the book, I wondered if there was a person to whom I’d say “For you, a thousand times over.” The absence of which makes me feel hollow on the inside.

Some quotes:
On father and son relationship – an intense theme in the book:
“Most days I worshiped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wished I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.”

On religious zealots:
“Piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys. They do nothing but thumb their rosaries and recite a book written in a tongue they don’t even understand. God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands.”

On suicide – the despair felt by a child, these simple words that summarize most suicide attempts:
“Tired of everything.”…
…”…wish you hadn’t… I wish you had left me in the water.”…
…”I am so khasta.” So very tired.

On forgiveness:
“Closing Sohrab’s door, 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.” ( )
1 vote varwenea | Jul 6, 2014 |
It begins so slow and leisurely - mimicking the lengthy days of childhood. And then races over significant times, like moving to America and marrying a love. I liked that the main character was so unworthy, but that I wanted him to make good. And I feel (maybe mistakenly) that I know slightly more about Afghanistan culture for reading this. ( )
  LARA335 | Jun 29, 2014 |
I read this novel with low expectations since I generally don’t like these types of novels. Unfortunately, this novel barely met even my low expectations. The Kite Runner is basically a long, rambling novel that is almost like a fictional memoir without any real plot, a novel where the writer is trying to wow the reader with his flowery prose rather than tell an engaging story. The story starts in Afghanistan and follows the life of its lead character from childhood to middle age. He is the son of a wealthy businessman and grows up with his father’s servant. Many bad things happen along the way, and Amir and his father wind up in the United States. Many years later, the story comes full circle when he returns to Afghanistan when it is under Taliban rule to find his friend Hassan murdered, and he tries to rescue Hassan’s son.

A novel like this can only work if the reader can get really engaged with the main character. Told in first person point of view from Amir’s viewpoint, I didn’t like his character in the least bit. I found him to be selfish and cowardly, so when good or bad things happened to him, I didn’t care in the least. The only coherence to a plot occurred in the final third of the novel, and by that point I had lost interest. If you are interested in a good story, I would strongly avoid this novel.

Carl Alves – author of Reconquest: Mother Earth ( )
  Carl_Alves | Jun 21, 2014 |
After receiving my Kindle for Christmas last year, this is one of the first books I bought with my giftcard. I've always been intrigued by stories set in foreign countries I'd like to visit or know I will never visit. Afghanistan is definitely one of the latter. Probably not for wanting, but because it likely won't be possible in my lifetime. So getting that insight to their world over there made the book quite fascinating.

I know I've read a few reviews while reading the book that criticized Hosseini for making Amir among the elite, and not having him being more like the average Afghani, a commoner. But with the drastic change that Afghanistan went through the drastic change of going from one of the elite to the equivalent of a commoner makes the story more heartbreaking in my opinion. Going from having everything to nothing better illustrates how bad what they went through was. Yes, I know Amir ends up in the San Francisco area, but if this doesn't cross your mind during the story, it should when Amir runs across the former University professor who knew his mother years ago. His story is so sad, and shows how Amir's life would've been if he and his father had not fled the country.

My main complaint about this book was that Amir, his father, and many of the other characters really didn't interest me much at all. The two I found the most interesting was Hassan and Rahim. Both of which had smaller parts in the book. Hassan was only really in the first third of the book, and Rahim only popped in a few times. I would've loved to see them more. Amir did become less annoying after he ended up in the US. He seemed to soften a bit, which helped his character. Same with his father, then again his Dad may have been hard to like at first because his character seemed to be more distant, and Amir was constantly wanting to win his approval in the beginning.

I'm not sure if I'll read any other books by Hosseini, if I do it probably won't be in the next few years. Hopefully if I do, he improves upon some of the issues I mentioned since this was his first book. ( )
  princess_mischa | Jun 18, 2014 |

I have to say something about this book which taught me a lesson to not to be a book snob from now on! To start with actually I was very apprehensive to start this book or rather reluctant too. If not for group-read may be I don’t think I would have ever read this book. There were many reasons for it, first of all it was an over hyped book and secondly it had won so many awards and I had a bad experience with an award winning book before!
Initially when I first started this book I had made up my mind that I won’t like and its nothing special and till one third I thought I was right but NO, it proved me wrong totally. Though the story was not something extraordinary and with simple characters, yet it made a space in my heart gradually with out me knowing and then it made me realize how wrongly I had judge this book. I just could not believe this was Hosseini’s first book his writing was so beautiful , flawless and heart touching that it took me in to the story.
The story was about Amir a guilty soul who was weak, could not stand up for himself or for others, could not raise his voice for the wrongs but he had a conscious which always used to haunt him throughout his life when ever something bad happened to him his conscious used to say he deserved it, well in the end when he rectified his mistake (may be partly but at least he does) that makes this story even more beautiful to read. On the whole I am really glad to have read this book!
( )
  Versha.Bharat | May 30, 2014 |
Honestly, I'm a SFF person so when my friends told me to read this book, I made up so many excuses to not read it. FInally, my friends got frustrated with me and gave this book to me as a birthday present. My only regret is not reading it earlier.

The way I look at it, Kite Runner tells the story of a boy who made some bad decisions in life in his childhood and the things he does later to atone for his sins. Of course, there's the whole creating awareness about Afghanistan and all that but I'm not going to address the elephant in the room. So about Amir.

Amir is your typical kid with the big ego. In a way, I see so much of myself in him: how he stopped reading riddle books to Hassan when he realized that the uneducated boy was better at it than him, his jealousy towards the boy over his father's affection. In a preverse sort of way, I can actually see what made him do what he did that night. It wasn't a I-don't-care-about-Hassan thing. It's more of a I'm-sorry-Hassan-but-I-really-need-this-so-I'm-not-going-to-help-you sin of omission. He was a coward and he chose the selfish decision of doing nothing ended up being haunted by it for the rest of his life. If we were honest with ourselves, we probably have all done something like that at one point or another in our life, just without such a severe result.

Kite Runner is all about facing your demons and making amends. The moving story would have probably gotten it 5 stars anyway but being one of the rare books that managed to change my perspective on life makes me hope I can give it 6. Now, this is my yardstick for rating books: How does this story compare to The Kite Runner? Not quite so good, huh? 4 stars. To all the other authors I've ever left a review for out there, I'm so sorry about the lack of 5 stars. It's just that Khaled Hosseini is so good that others can't really compare. ( )
  Jael112 | May 3, 2014 |
Incredibly brilliant and emotional depiction of life in Afghanistan. ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
Incredibly brilliant and emotional depiction of life in Afghanistan. ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
After reading first 7 chapters I would have given this book 6 stars :) However, the remaining chapters did not engage me as much. Overall a good book, maybe just a little bit too long. I am sure of one thing though: every bit of the news about Afghanistan will be much more touching from now on as this book made me feel a strange connection to the country and its people... ( )
1 vote AgneJakubauskaite | Apr 4, 2014 |
Beautifully written. ( )
  cbinstead | Mar 24, 2014 |
I have mixed feelings about this one. In some respects it was a fascinating look into life in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war and also under the rule of the Taliban. Parts of it are hard to read, the cruelty that some people inflict upon one another, parts are heart-warming in the lengths some people will go to for others. Having said that I found it difficult to really warm to the main character, Amir, and also some of the turns of events seemed to be too 'convenient'. It did at times generate enough feeling within me to bring me to tears and at times the writing was beautifully descriptive bringing the world he was describing to life, unfortunately at other times it felt cliched. Overall, I'm glad I read it. ( )
  Peace2 | Mar 23, 2014 |
This, as the entire world before me had discovered, is a beautiful book. It took me a little while to get into it -- waiting for some flaw somewhere, however little, that justified why it took me so long to read this book.
And I found the odd word choice here, there. But then even those disappeared and I got sucked into the story.
I think there is some portion of my brain that connected the (horrible) experience of reading _The House of Sand and Fog_ with this book, and so I stayed away. I'm not saying that's a rational connection, it was just there.
Hosseini does such a great job of narrating this story and stepping out of the way, not beating you over the head with the emotions you're meant to be feeling, and he builds suspense especially well towards the end of the book (the scene in which you think, "Hmm, that's odd he mentioned tha… oh God, that's going to come back pretty soon in a nasty way, isn't it?" got me hooked).
Now, if only this book could reach a wider readership... ( )
  mhanlon | Mar 23, 2014 |
This book not only captured my imagination, but my heart. The character's are drawn so vividly, with such humanity, it is impossible not to fall in love with them.

While this story is crafted with such depth and feeling, a central theme that I appreciated getting to grips with is life in Afghanistan at this time, and the surrounding areas. A book that can so adequately inform, and improve upon my general knowledge, holds much in terms of depth.

Finally I would highly recommend this book, and consider Khaled Hosseini as a hugely talented individual. ( )
  Holly_85 | Mar 16, 2014 |
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