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The Kite Runner Paperback – US Import, April 27, 2004
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Hosseini's stunning debut novel starts as an eloquent Afghan version of the American immigrant experience in the late 20th century, but betrayal and redemption come to the forefront when the narrator, a writer, returns to his ravaged homeland to rescue the son of his childhood friend after the boy's parents are shot during the Taliban takeover in the mid '90s. Amir, the son of a well-to-do Kabul merchant, is the first-person narrator, who marries, moves to California and becomes a successful novelist. But he remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed the trust of his best friend, a Hazara boy named Hassan, who receives a brutal beating from some local bullies. After establishing himself in America, Amir learns that the Taliban have murdered Hassan and his wife, raising questions about the fate of his son, Sohrab. Spurred on by childhood guilt, Amir makes the difficult journey to Kabul, only to learn the boy has been enslaved by a former childhood bully who has become a prominent Taliban official. The price Amir must pay to recover the boy is just one of several brilliant, startling plot twists that make this book memorable both as a political chronicle and a deeply personal tale about how childhood choices affect our adult lives. The character studies alone would make this a noteworthy debut, from the portrait of the sensitive, insecure Amir to the multilayered development of his father, Baba, whose sacrifices and scandalous behavior are fully revealed only when Amir returns to Afghanistan and learns the true nature of his relationship to Hassan. Add an incisive, perceptive examination of recent Afghan history and its ramifications in both America and the Middle East, and the result is a complete work of literature that succeeds in exploring the culture of a previously obscure nation that has become a pivot point in the global politics of the new millennium.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The plot was interesting as I remember, I read it from A-Z very caught up in the tale. Everybody should read it as it makes us understand better other people from different lives and cultures.
The Kite Runner is a book based on two young boys who lived together but were never close to each other due to their social status.
Storyline: Amir, the son of a rich man in Kabul, Afghanistan is befriended by Hassan, a boy who is born to a low caste Hazara. Hassan, though is the servant’s kid, is allowed to play, dine and assist Amir in his daily routine. The innocent loyalty of Hassan towards Amir is so high that Amir’s father treats him as his second son and never treated him like a servant. But Amir doesn’t replicate the same to Hassan many times, particularly one day when Hassan was attacked by a group of anti-Hazara boys from the neighbourhood, when Hassan runs to fetch the kite struck and won by Amir in the famous Kite Festival of Kabul. This guilt of betrayal makes Amir to distance himself from Hassan though the later never minded it. This leads to Hassan leaving Amir’s home forever. Amir and his father later migrate to America after Afghanistan was taken over by the Russians. Hassan is forgotten by Amir in due course. After some years, Amir gets married in America and decides to visit Afghanistan followed by a phone call by his uncle Rahim. There he comes to know of his life secret that Hassan is non other than his half brother born to his father and the servant maid. Hassan dies in a Taliban attack trying to protect Amir’s house in Kabul a little earlier and is survived by his son, Sohrab. This child of Hassan is abducted by the Talibs from an orphanage and sexually abused. Amir takes the responsibility of rescuing Sohrab from the Talibs and adopts him, as a remorse to all his sins of betraying his father. Moreover Amir himself is childless. But the emotionally insecure Sohrab will not be able to gel into the new family as he misses his parents and freedom. After Afghanistan is freed from the Talibs, Amir and his family re-visits his homeland to do some charity activities. During one such activity, Sohrab takes interest in flying a kite and Amir flies the kite for him just like the way Sohrab’s father used to do for Amir. The story ends with Amir cutting the opponent’s kite and running for the severed kite just like the way his brother Hassan, used to do for him.
Pros: A great emotional story of live of two happy kids from different social strata, transformed into a tragedy for no fault of theirs. A story which shows how millions of lives have tragic endings due to an unexpected turmoil in the form of constant war, killings of the innocents and suffering of the survivors. Lucky were the one who were dead and dilapidated were the lives of the left behind. A highly emotional writing with apt usage of classic prose that will leave no reader tearless while reading this book. I would recommend this book to every reader to know how some lives end up in tragedy simply for no fault of theirs. I appreciate the author’s talent in highlighting the Afghan culture and tradition in the most desirable way.
Cons: Child abuse was the point I hated to read in this book. Though this was the most disturbing fact of the day and ever growing menace in today’s world, I could not stand the way Hassan and his son were abused sexually by the upper caste during their childhood days. How can one do it to a kid? Disgusting!!! No wonder such kids will grow with extremist ideas and replicate the same after they grow up, inculcating the mindset of violence in their behavior..
My rating is 4.25 out of 5