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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 alternate Paperback edition.
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 alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
I was unfortunate enough to get a couple of spoilers for the book (friendly advice: if you're in the middle of the book, it is NOT a good idea to check for the trailer of the movie's adaptation, as it contains mild spoilers), so nothing struck me as absolutely unexpected, yet the book still kept me trapped to its fascinating world until the very last page.
One of the best thing about this book is how it talked about the character's life in the US without patronizing the country, always making sure that Amir was a coherent character, with a heart deeply rooted in the values and traditions of his home country. It was also interesting to finally see a story by the point of view of someone most uninformed people consider a "terrorist".
I just can't seem to find words enough to express how this book change the way I saw Afghanistan, its people, its culture. I loved every single page of The Kite Runner and feel like it's going to leave an empty space in my heart...
This book proves those stereotypes wrong and will give any reader a more human perspective of Afghanistan. Instead of having the first thing come to mind being "terrorists" or "crazy religious people " , this book will help remind you that Afghans are people just like us . Not all of them choose to behave as those in the Taliban behave . They are victims of war within their own country .
I am glad I read this book because it pointed out things I already knew except gave me more detailed descriptions of how things are for a "normal" family in Afghanistan.
I won't go into any more detail to spoil the book but I would recommend it for anyone looking for something to give them a more human perspective on what goes on in Afghanistan . It includes universal human themes such as friendship, love , war, betrayal, loyalty , religion , and more.
No wonder it's a top rated book .