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|Length: 337 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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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 --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From School Library Journal
Penny Stevens, Andover College, Portland, ME
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- Publication date : April 27, 2004
- File size : 1056 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 337 pages
- Publisher : Riverhead Books; 1st edition (April 27, 2004)
- ASIN : B000OCXGZA
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #17,089 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I found many more than one part of it disturbing especially as a novel for teenagers. Kite Runner is dark, depressing, descriptive of violence and in my opinion, not a good choice for high school students.
Khaled Hosseini is a talented writer but I fail to understand why high school students should be analyzing a fictional novel dramatizing so many dark topics and adult subject matter. I thought I had read the "one disturbing part" in Chapter 7, homosexual rape, but Kite Runner continues with a series of painful, life altering, distressing and depressing event after event throughout the book to the very last chapter.
I've never read a book with so much trauma happening to it's characters (and then I read Hosseini's other book A Thousand Splendid Suns). Kite Runner starts with a dysfunctional family (a son who does not feel loved by his single father) and a dysfunctional "friendship" between boys due to their cultural cast system. A physical birth disfigurement, cowardice, cover up lies, and betrayal are touched on. War atrocities are covered including more homosexual rape, gun violence, power struggles, and the flight of refugees. This novel also ties in cancer, infertility, adultery, a bastard child, deception, more violence including a public stoning, innocent victims killed in broad daylight, child servitude and attempted suicide. Many reviews mention the main character's courage to seek redemption but I found the circumstances overly dramatized and any meaningful aspects of redemption washed out.
Kite Runner ends with a glimmer of hope for better times but after the countless events of trauma, violence and brutality, emotionally and physically throughout the book, the hopeful ending only makes a dull thud against the depressing, dark, adult topics depicted and graphically described throughout the book.
I fail to see why Kite Runner is being selected over countless other great pieces of literature. I do not feel this book is a necessary read to understanding the complex differences of Afghanistan's culture nor it's history. I am not opposed to high school students being exposed to different cultures or adult topics but of the literary options that are available, I do not feel Kite Runner offers educational value that exceeds the depressing nature of this book and the descriptive imagery of countless depressing adult topics that have happened in Afghanistan and are probably still happening in Afghanistan. I prefer my 15 year old to learn about Afghanistan in a neutral, historical style rather than taking an emotional ride with fictional characters.
It astounds me that over 4,000 readers rate this book with 5 stars. My question to them is how many of them would choose this book over another book for their high school students.
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.
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!
Top reviews from other countries
Amir and Hassan, who lives in Afghanistan were nursed by a same woman as both of them lost their mothers immediately after their birth. As they grew up together in a same home they became inseparable. Hassan was the closest thing to a best friend Amir ever had. But he never accepted that in public as they both belonged to a different community. Hassan was a Hazara boy who belonged to Shi'a community. He was the son of Amir's servant. Whereas Amir was a Pashtun and was the son of one of the most renowned man of the town, a Sunni.
Hassan was a brave and honest boy, a loyal friend and he was the best "kite runner" of the town. He was deadly with his slingshot. He was a pure soul and a true friend. Whereas Amir was a coward, mean and an egoistic boy. His head was always buried in books. He had become a good writer and a poet at a very young age. Hassan on the other hand never went to school. Amir used to read Hassan various stories but sometimes he teased Hassan for the words he had never heard of as he was an illiterate. Hassan being innocent and kind never minded that.
When Amir was young he used to long for his father's love. He could go to any length to achieve his father's affection and love which was missing from his life. In the winter of 1975, Amir won the "Kite fighting tournament" and won his father's love too. But that happiness didn't last too long as in the same winter a horrible event occured which destroyed everything.
Hassan had always went out of his way to help Amir. Whenever they were in trouble Hassan used to take stand for Amir and always saved him from any ruckus. But when Amir's time came to pay Hassan back for what he had done for him, he backed out. He betrayed his own friend who had always been there for him like his own brother. Amir pretended as if he didn't see anything. Little did he know that thing will haunt him forever and even after 26 years he will not be able to sleep peacefully at night.
So this is the story of Amir's search for redemption and peace. That how he returned back to a new but jeopardized Kabul from his comfortable life in America and how he got his peace back somehow but in broken pieces.
The devastation of Afghanistan, the abolishment of monarchy, the Russian invasion and then Taliban rule has been described very boldly and is really heartbreaking. This book is not for the light-hearted people at all. This is a tragic story which will leave you sad and heartbroken.
I have read the other two books of Khaled Hosseini as well. This book is a lot better than "And the mountains echoed" but still I like "A thousand splendid suns" the best.
Edit: As I read further, I found some pages are not in right order (see picture) Page 133 is before Page 132. Reducing the Rating to 1. Ideally, It should be looked into and pirated books should not be allowed on Amazon.
This was the second time I read The Kite Runner and I wasn't disappointed - nope, not at all.
The Kite Runner is one book that has stayed close with me every time I have read it. I still remember the first time I went through it. It was on a very long train journey. I read it through whatever daylight was available and I ended up crying my heart out. Thanks for me, the second AC compartment had curtains to hide my eyes every time I teared up.
What is more is that this book was the first book by Hosseini that I read and I ended up loving it so much that I just had to buy the other two as well. (I still don't have Sea Prayer or a copy of this book but I'm trying to lay my hands on them soon enough. Books like these should end up in my bookshelf.)
Now I know almost everyone has read this book so my review probably won't even matter but I simply cannot not write about it. The Kite Runner was heartbreaking beautiful, heart-wrenching disastrous and a painful tearjerker.
The book has everything - from rape, war, terrorism to friendship, love and heartbreak. It is also one of the few books that I have read on a tradition that has been forgotten since a long while now - of kite flying and running. I still remember when, as a kid, there was a Muslim family in my neighbourhood. They would be the first ones to fly kite in the winters. It didn't snow like it did in Amir's Afghanistan, but it was a pretty nice day. I remember how I would often look at the boy's kite in awe, for it was the only kite that flew till the very end. And all of them were always so happy. Every year after the game was over, they would invite us over for dinner. We never went, until one day I woke up to find the house empty. It has been years now and till date, I have no clue why they left all of a sudden. Or rather, who sent them away but I remember thinking the reason behind it all. Here was a family, trying to enjoy, trying to create a life and they sent them away.
The Kite Runner brought back those memories and so many other things. Hassan, for example, broke my heart. Or rather, what happened to him did it. How could he love a man so much despite everything that man had done to him? They moved to America and Amir never even contacted him. That was the least they could do. That was just the....
No matter how the story ends, I will always know Hassan as the boy who ran, the boy who got betrayed and the boy who was not given what he deserved. And why? All because he was a Hazara? I hate stereotypes and I hate when one culture is undermined for no valid reason. So when Hassan's story was revealed in the end, it did nothing but kill me.
Over and over again.
But it's alright. Because for you, a thousand times over.
The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan and member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Amir’s companion as a child was his servant Hassan, from the despised and impoverished Hazara caste. Their bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy. Despite escaping from troubles in his motherland, Amir will have to return to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.
The comradeship between an affluent boy and the son of his father’s servant takes centre stage in the early stages of The Kite Runner, a novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. A beguiling story that explores the price of betrayal, the efforts to gain redemption for past wrongs, and the undeniable connection and power that exists between a father and his son, whether it be a son striving to earn the affection of a father, or the sacrifices and lies that they both have to live with throughout their lives.
There are coincidences and clichés aplenty, and they play a part in detracting from what could have been a compelling classic. The inclusion of coincidences is designed to deliver a heartfelt image into the readers’ minds. These range from the Hassan-Sohrab heroic similarities, the Assed-Taliban inclusion, the emotional use of clef lips, and the professor-cum-homeless man that knew Amir’s mother. The fact that there is a catalogue of coincidences in the story-line does rather weaken the overall story as the effect of each coincidence lessens each time rather than it being a special and unusual moment. The plethora of clichés that Hosseini includes comes as no surprise given the detailed passage defending the use of clichés in Amir’s work. Amir/Hosseini argues that clichés have become clichés for good reason, and this comes as way of explanation for his unabashed use of them.
The visual descriptions of Afghanistan during the many years of turmoil that the people have had to endure is the best written aspect of the book. The days of the monarchic dynasty, a rebellious coup, the Soviet-Afghan war and the resulting Taliban occupation of the country in the wake of 9/11 is given great coverage. These historic moments are described from a unique standpoint – the perspective of an Afghan. The perilous journey out of the country during one of the periods of unrest was particularly well executed, as the conditions, the dangers and the corruption came to the surface in Hosseini’s words in a way which came across as believable, as if it was based on personal experience or honest accounts of such escapes.
The redemption story, which takes over the latter part of the novel, loses its sheen as Amir isn’t the most likeable character given his actions and thoughts earlier in the novel regarding his “friend” Hassan. The inner monologue showed his jealousy towards Hassan concerning some things that eluded Amir, plus his reticence regarding the protection and honour of his “friend” was a shameful lack of action on his part, and he continued the betrayal shortly after to cement his place as a character I disliked. He also seems to be hesitant at making up for past sins on his return to Afghanistan years later, again, not instilling good feeling towards him from me.
For me The Kite Runner was a well narrated novel which explored the father-son relationship especially well, in quite articulate fashion, and Hosseini presented Amir’s ongoing guilt through the middle-to-late chapters in an interesting and delicate manner. A story that explores a country we have heard so much about in recent years, yet we truly know the history or the mindset of the people of Afghanistan. The Kite Runner is a fascinating and culturally important novel for those who know little about the people and the trials they have had to live through, as well as having a compelling story to guide the way.
Following an incident where Hassan suffers greatly in protecting Amir, it leaves Amir with an unshakeable sense of guilt and culpability that manifests itself in a resentful disposition towards Hassan. The class system plays its part but the cowardice of Amir will haunt him throughout his life. The writing is really wonderful, how this is portrayed, and so imperceptibly built to capture emotions and our sentiments of injustice.
Years later Amir who has now returned from the US to right some of these wrongs and seeks redemption with Hassan and make amends. Since Amir was last in Afghanistan the Taliban are now in control of the state, society and religion. The writing is so wonderfully paced and descriptive to bring both the emotional horrors and fear of the alien culture he now experiences.
A really superb book on so many levels – the history, religion, social culture, character interaction and it’s ultimately dealing with human emotions of friendship, guilt, selflessness and selfishness. A must read!