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Holt McDougal Library: The Kite Runner Paperback – March 5, 2013
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"[A] powerful first novel... political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence—forces that continue to threaten them even today."—The New York Times Book Review
"A beautiful novel... This unusually eloquent story is also about the fragile relationship between fathers and sons, humans and their gods, men and their countries. Loyalty and blood are the ties that bind their stories into one of the most lyrical, moving and unexpected books this year." --The Denver Post
"A marvelous first novel... the story of two young boys who are friends in Afghanistan, and an incredible story of the culture. It's an old-fashioned kind of novel that really sweeps you away." --San Francisco Chronicle
"This extraordinary novel locates the personal struggles of everyday people in the terrible sweep of history." --People
"A moving portrait of modern Afghanistan." —Entertainment Weekly
"A powerful book...no frills, no nonsense, just hard, spare prose...an intimate account of family and friendship, betrayal and salvation that requires no atlas or translation to engage and enlighten us. Parts of The Kite Runner are raw and excruciating to read, yet the book in its entirety is lovingly written."—The Washington Post Book World
"An astonishing, powerful book."—Diane Sawyer
About the Author
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed. He is A U.S. Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
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I read this book after reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" because I was beginning to really become aware of how many of our fellow brothers and sisters in other places in the world have the same desires that we do in the United States: to raise our children with a sense of morality, the determination to make more of oneself, and the endurance to keep going in horrific times and situations.
The narrator of this story is so breathtakingly honest that I feel that his conscience is only open to me. This story allows me to recognize that more than likely every human who has ever walked this earths has had moments of deep regret, and that if we could, we would go back and redo as we examine how life could have been different if other choices were made.
Reading this book has made this far away place seem so much closer - and its people much more understandable to me. It's an emotional read but a must-read for all who, like me, have not read a book like it.
This is the second time I read this book. I still enjoyed it a lot, but feel there are a few holes in the plot that detract from the wonderful, elegant writing. One problem is the rigmarole in Islamabad about adoption there. It now just seems a setup for Sohrab to try to kill himself and drive Amir back into guilt-filled misery. And in fact, by the end of the novel Sohrab still hasn't come back from that. Also, why was it ultimately so easy to get Sohrab into the US? The book does not explain. I also thought the return of Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, was a curious coincidence. Similarly, Rahim Khan's invention of Thomas and Betty Caldwell in order to get Amir to bring Sohrab to Peshawar, knowing that once Amir found out about the deception, he would not let Sohrab go, was contrived.
But there is so much of this book to love. The writing, the characters, and especially the portrait of a country that I, like so many Americans, have many misconceptions and very little actual knowledge about. Very much worth reading.
That story is layered over another story about a country that went from relative freedom and prosperity to unimaginable terror and poverty, and this second story is every bit as powerful as the primary plot. Afghanistan provides a unique and powerful setting for THE KITE RUNNER. Hosseini turns this novel into an emotionally-charged look at the forces at work in his native country, an topic that he obviously feels strongly about. This historical backstory gives the novel some much-needed grounding in the real world. Amir and Hassan are unforgettable, and their heart-wrenching story is worthy of your time. Highly recommended.
Throughout the novel, Hosseini recounts the story through the first person mind of Amir whose guilt-driven consciousness drives the plot. Hosseini weaves the idea that redemption is important because sin is enduring throughout the story. He explains that Amir seeks to help Sohrab, Hassan’s son, as he realizes that he has been “peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” It becomes apparent that his cowardice and betrayal towards Hassan has plagued his consciousness with guilt. Without relief, he cannot live a normal life that he had tried to build in the United States.
The title of the book also reveals an important aspect of the plot as the kite fighting tournaments become essential to understanding the underlying meaning of the story. Kite fighting in the beginning of the novel represents the distinct dichotomy that was occurring at that in Afghanistan between the Pashtuns and the Hazaras, but it also represents the strong bond between the half brothers. In the end, the kite fighting represents the promising future that was ahead of Sohrab and Amir. Hosseini reveals that Amir had “looked down at Sohrab. One corner of his mouth curled up just so. A smile.” Although, he has sinned in the beginning, Amir finally finds his redemption and relief within Sohrab.
Overall, this book was very captivating as it keeps readers on their toes throughout the entire story. One can feel a sort of connection with the narrator further aiding the reader the importance of redemption. I would give this book five stars.