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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner (2003)

by Khaled Hosseini

Other authors: Mirka Andolfo (Illustrator), Fabio Celoni (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
43,591114918 (4.21)1 / 864
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  11. 10
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    Alliebadger: Both beautifully written accounts of atrocities we never really think about. Each one is a fast and amazing read.
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    SheReads: Very different, but the cultural relevancy of both books has similar characteristics.

(see all 24 recommendations)

Asia (9)

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Showing 1-5 of 1028 (next | show all)
Oh god, where do I start? It's a book written like one horrendous Hindi movie plot complete with cardboard cutout characters, unbelievably villanous villains, and idealized women protagonists. C'mon, this bookish nerdy guy who goes to Afghanistan to confront his old nemesis, a feared warlord, and comes back okay? Jeez!

Yes, first English-Afghan book post 2001 to hit the shelves, yes, nice descriptions of pre-Taliban pre-Soviet Afghan life, and I quite identified with kite fights because we used to kite fight growing up in India as well, but no excuses for taking a good 40-50 pages of book and ruining the rest of it with a potboiler pulp fiction narrative. ( )
2 vote RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
I read "Kite Runner" with suffocation in my throat. The novel tells the story of two young boys, Hassan and Amir, who are different from each other in every possible way and yet still connected to each other's lives more than the reader can describe.

It is a story about Kabul, the beautiful, joyous, pre-war kite, and how the Taliban takeover destroyed it. It's a story about friendship, courage, loyalty, father-son relations, mistakes that exacted too high a price and attempts to redeem them.

The book is written in a rather casual way, but occasionally it is accompanied by witty, touching and touching sentences that I reread 3 or 4 times until I got used to the shudder they pass on to me.

I can only hope and wish everyone who has this book to enjoy it as I did. ( )
  Johenlvinson | Jan 13, 2019 |
I found this book fascinating, powerfully written, and very emotional. I couldn't put it down. ( )
  JuliaFrench | Jan 12, 2019 |
This was a great book. I really did enjoy it. The story is of a wealthy boy in Kabul, Afghanistan and a servant boy at his home who become friends. The wealthy boy pines for his father's affection (his mother died giving birth to him) but he never fully gets it (or his dad's approval). The boys are each other's playmates until they are about 10 when something terrible happens to the servant boy. The wealthy boy witnessed it, but ran instead of helped. And the wealthy boy never saw the servant boy again.

The wealthy boy moves to America with his father when the Taliban takes over Kabul and there he finds college, a wife, and a new life. Until one day, he gets a call from an old family friend asking him to return to Kabul because he has to see him. And this is where I will end my review because I do not want to give away what happens when he returns.

It really was a great story. I found myself gripping the book tightly in the end. I wondered what had happened to the servant boy and if the wealthy boy would ever see him again.

I encourage you to read this book. There is even a movie that goes along with it! ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
I rarely review books, because professional critics generally perform that duty with rather more professionalism than I myself might muster. Unfortunately, I occasionally have the ill luck to lower myself to reading a work of immense recent popular success, always at the insistence of a sub-literate friend, and "The Kite Runner" is a sterling example of such a ruinous, and lugubrious, lapse.

There is a well-known joke about how a six-year-old Truman Capote confronts his kindergarten teacher, complete with his signature mincing lisp, after being obligated to read a typical children's book: "This isn't writing. This is typing. Why don't you give us something substantial to read?" This was much the way I felt upon essaying Hosseini's debut novel. It's not literature; it's just bad: manipulative, contrived, turbid, predictable, sophomoric, dull.

I won't insult the intelligence of any reasonably alert reader to this novel's manifest flaws by citing chapter and verse in some niggling and microcosmic post-mortem; these failings are vivid and present no difficulty of discernment for an experienced lover of actual literature. But I will make a few salient points:

1. The level of vocabulary is juvenile. I believe "indecipherable" was the most difficult word in the book. Yet, when I dismissed the book as mediocre YA, the double-doctoral degreed friend who twisted my arm to waste a sliver of my life on this novel was affronted at my characterization. I challenge any adorer of this work to cite a properly advanced English word by page citation, one that would not appear in the vocabulary of a fairly mediocre tenth-grader. I'll wait.

2. The characters were stereotypes. The distant but powerful father, the ethically challenged protagonist, the saintly, socially inferior minority supporting character, seem excised from a not very brilliant handbook to churning out your first shlockish first novel (of which, of course, this book provides a sterling exemplum). If you were to change "Hazara" to "nigger", "The Kite Runner" could have been written about 1920's Mississippi in a justifiably abandoned, pre-"Soldier's Pay" novel from an unpromising and none too sober teen-aged Faulkner.

3. The narrative parallelism is contrived and absurd. Hassan is an ace with his slingshot. His son is an ace with a slingshot. Hassan threatens to put out the eye of the Hitler-loving villain with his slingshot. His son puts out the eye of the Hitler-loving villain with his slingshot. Hassan loves kites. His son discovers that he,too, has an instinctive love of kites. And on and on, ad nauseum.

4. The Hitler-loving villain of the protagonist's youth, is, of course, precisely the Taliban with whom Amir must contend when he returns to Kabul decades later. OF COURSE. And of course the guards allow him to escape unmolested after the climactic battle. OF COURSE THEY DO. Because that's why you have guards, so they can ignore the hero after you've just had your eye put out by a child ten feet away. OF COURSE.

5. How many unfortunate disadvantages does the author feel he needs to load upon his (sympathetic) characters in order to bludgeon his readers into regarding them as sympathetic? Amir: dead mother, unloving father, massively flawed character, war-wracked homeland, political refugee, impoverished Californian, cancer-ridden father, barren wife, and on and on ad nauseum. Hassan: hare-lipped and brutally gang-raped as a boy and then framed as a thief by his best friend. Ali: crippled by polio. Sohrab: repeatedly raped by Assef, reduced to slicing his wrists in the bathtub by a conveniently provided straight razor, and rendered mute by his experiences (a future ISIL terrorist if ever there was one). Assef: a good-looking Nazi-cum-Taliban sadist with a penchant for raping boys and an admirable capacity for nursing a grudge against two-dimensional, ill-written characters. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

I will truncate this litany of crimes against literature by inviting the millions of lovers of this putrid exercise in mediocrity to expose themselves to a good book as a remedial change of pace. You know, the sort of book which tends to be taught at Ivy League colleges and for which their creators occasionally (very occasionally) earn Nobel prizes: "The Man Without Qualities"; "Lieutenant-Colonel de Maumort"; "Buddenbrooks"; "Jean-Christophe"; "The Viceroys"; "U. S. A."; "Il Gattopardo"; and, of course, need I even mention, Proust. ( )
  dartmouthcrew | Jan 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 1028 (next | show all)
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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Khaled Hosseiniprimary authorall editionscalculated
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)

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