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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
40,131108216 (4.21)1 / 785
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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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(see all 26 recommendations)


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Showing 1-5 of 968 (next | show all)
Have resisted picking up this book as I saw it as popular fiction. But am glad to admit I was wrong, it deserves its popularity. Themes such as courage, redemption and friendly sure resonate with me and I am glad to say thank God I read it. ( )
  siok | Aug 13, 2016 |
My immediate reaction while reading this transcendent novel was frustration—I was peeved at myself for having waited so long to enjoy Hosseini’s masterful storytelling and sublime sense of humanity, love, and redemption. Make no mistake—The Kite Runner is an exceptional work with all of the hallmarks of great literature.

The story of Amir, the novel’s admittedly imperfect narrator, begins in Kabul in the 1960s and early 1970s, where he grows up with his privileged father (his mother dies giving birth to him) and their servants, Ali and Hassan, who is just two years younger than Amir. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras, members of a marginalized ethnic group in Afghanistan. Despite Amir’s strong friendship with Hassan, the difference in social class and economic privilege damages their bond—both physically and emotionally—and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, along with the rise of the Taliban, irrevocably transforms their relationship.

Years later, Amir—now married to an Afghan woman and living in California—is summoned back to Afghanistan for a chance to redeem himself. The ensuing narrative, despite some improbable but not entirely implausible plot developments, constitutes some of the most harrowing and emotionally powerful scenes of atonement and reconciliation imaginable.

Hosseini’s ability to tell his story and develop complex characters who exhibit all too human flaws while striving for compassion and a sense of peace left me in awe. His talent as a writer is obvious, but even stronger is his understanding of emotion and its impact on behavior. This novel moved me to tears numerous times.

Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” The Kite Runner exemplifies that idea in ways that few novels ever have. I highly recommend this novel to anyone with a pulse. Read it now—it will make you a better person. ( )
  jimrgill | Jul 16, 2016 |
"I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering it's things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night." ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Jun 21, 2016 |
I've had this book for about 3 years and don't know why I hadn't read it; I believe I confused it with another book that I had tried and put down. Thankfully, I picked this one up, and immediately knew that I had a gem. I am grateful to the author for the gift of this book. ( )
  shesinplainview | Jun 18, 2016 |

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime...”

Agh, a depressing book for sure. Beautifully written and authentic feeling, it also seems to be written for the shock effect of having almost as much tragedy as possible put into the pages. Just when there seems to be redemption and joy soaring my way, something else horrible happened to slap me out of my optimism.

I wasn't sure whether to rate it 3 or 4 stars. On enjoyment level alone, it was definitely soul-wrenching and 3. On merit and writing style, it was inching toward 4. I'll slap up the four star and be done with the speculation.

The protagonist isn't that likable. Khaled Hosseini shows that a poor decision made in a terrified child may need to be excused to a degree in a grieving adult, but this doesn't make it easier to endure as a reader. He did right himself in the end in his way, although it took awhile to get there and showed he did not have the strength of his father nor the easy honor of his friend Hassan. Clearly it just wasn't an ingrained personality trait, a pity that all the people in his life recognized by still loved him in spite of.

The first part of the book was especially beautifully written as it captured that potent magic of friendship and bonding, but it soured quickly when racism and superiority inevitably paved its way in. Hassan was a beautiful character, almost a little too good to be true other than to stand as the martyr of the story, but it was still soul stomping to endure.

Through the reading of this book there's a shroud of despair and sorrow that's impossible to shake, even when the book is done, which is a sign of an effective writer. Hosseini pens the words freely and with progress, so I'll be checking out more of his work but hoping it doesn't stab me in the heart quite the same way.

I know little of the Middle East but this was an eye opener. Really sad stuff here with children, families, cultures. It was interesting to see different ways of life and how they bonded together in America at the market, and I'm happy that Hosseini held this way of life up for the intent to show the solidity of the culture. Despite this, there was a definite break and breaching in it which is one of two main themes of this story. There was racial divide amongst the ranks and also the crushing divisions of different power players - some who embraced the new world and some who existed in it just to survive but not accept.

The other theme is forgiving yourself even if it's not fully possible to be granted pure redemption. The character would be totally unlikable if he didn't seek a relief of guilt and didn't feel that burden throughout this life. It took awhile for the guilt to fully grip him effectively, but at least that emotion shows regret. Despite that, he didn't go out of his way to combat the regret until so late in life. How nice it would have been to have looked up Hassan on his own without the pull of a dying friend pleading with him to do so.

As a few others have said in their reviews, this isn't a book I want to revisit or reread. It's a sad, crushing story about the separation of friends from one who was unable to stand up for someone who stood up for him, and the instability of a culture that will still be shaking at its roots for a long time to come.

( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 968 (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.
il était un enfant calme. le calme est synonyme de paix. de tranquillité. le calme, c'est lorsqu'on pousse la manette volume de la vie vers le bas.
il marchait comme s'il avait peur de laisser des traces de pas derrière lui. il se déplaçait comme s'il souhaitait ne pas créer le moindre mouvement d'air.
added by fati.mokhtari | editFZ

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Khaled Hosseiniprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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".
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(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.
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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 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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