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The Kite Runner Paperback – March 5, 2013
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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.
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Top customer reviews
I only started the audio book yesterday and I couldn't turn it off until now because I finished it a few seconds ago. It is the first time I read a non-British or non-American novel and to tell the truth, I listened to the audio book without having high expectations since I knew this novel was a best seller and I like to stay away from best sellers because they are, most of the time, a disappointment.
However, this is not the case. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini it is certainly the most delicious piece of literature I've had the pleasure to lay my eyes on (or listen to), an outstanding novel that will be remembered for many generations to come...it will always be in my mind and heart, to say the least.
I have tears in my eyes right now and my heart is swelling with overflowing emotions. The suspense made my heart skip many times, but the ending left a satisfied smile plastered on my face and I don't know what else to say because my mind is busy remembering those precious and cherished times from the main character's past as if they were my own memories. I feel like I went to another world and lived Amir's life and came back to this life, wondering about my own life too.
The kite runner was so good, so sad, so real. There were no perfect characters and no imperfect characters. They all were human, they were despicable, they were lovely. I read this book or I should say, I listened to this book like when I eat my favorite cake: I can't stopped eating it and the only most important thing in this world is that small moment of pleasure, nothing else matters.
Many people were mad at the main character because they thought he was heartless or committed many mistakes. We have to keep in mind that Amir was only a kid longing for his father's love, so everything that mattered to him was to make his father to look at him as a dear son, this just shows us the huge impact a father/mother's treatment can make to their children's lives. Although Amir was only a kid, that's no excuse for the cruel things he did to his best friend, the ever so kind and gentle soul, Hassan. His love and loyalty towards Amir never wavered even though he knew about his betrayal and everything he's done. He always loved him unconditionally. Hassan was my favorite character, he reminded me of Petey from another great book "Map of the harbor Islands".
I cried for Hassan as if he was my best friend, I even wished to meet him, to be greeted one day by a man with such a pure soul and gentle smile like his. I admit I was mad at Amir many times for the things he did or I should better say, for the things he didn't do for Hassan, like rescuing him from that horrible time..." on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975" ...I wasn't mad at the fact that he was afraid, he was only a kid so it's understandable but I was mad at how good he was at pretending he didn't know nothing afterwards or that he was worried more about the blue kite than about his friend's condition, or so I thought.
I wondered many times how I would react in Amir's place...that's why I couldn't hate him like others do...because he was just human and humans have feelings. We are selfish sometimes, we feel jealousy and envy, we are cowards or at least have something we are afraid of, we lie, we steal, we hurt, we love. Life becomes beautiful where love is involved. I believe that we should live our lives in love with the world and the people in it and not waste our short life by hating and rejecting people just because they are different. This book dealt with many issues of hate, status, politics, religion, poverty, wars, sins, the importance of your bloodline but most importantly, the importance of redemption and love over everything else.
"...there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him... there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will 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 now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is."
Amir discovered later on that his life has been like a lie because his father kept a secret from everybody...this cost the suffering of many people, including himself. Amir also made many people suffer because of his lies and betrayal..."like father, like son"
"But better to be hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie."
Amir suffered for the things he did, his conscience didn't leave him alone during all his life. He physically and mentally grew up and changed from a selfish, afraid boy to a responsible, valiant man. I forgive him because I also love him. :)
"A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything."
Let me quote another great character, Rahim(oh! another good thing is that all the characters here are important and we learn something from all of them):
"A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer."...
He said this to Amir because Amir always thought of himself as unworthy, despicable, dirty, a sinner.
"When guilt leads to good"
Amir's guiltiness lead him to discover who he really was and what he really wanted. I love the fact that he risked his life to save Hassan's son as a way to redeem his sins, as a way to ask for forgiveness and he changed for him, suffered for him, felt for him. I was so sad for Hassan's son, Sohrab, just to think that many children has gone through the same things as him makes me shiver from terror.
I'm afraid to say it has become my favorite book because The Count of Monte Cristo remained as my favorite book of all time for many years but now that I think about it, The Kite Runner is more realistic and touched me deeply on so many levels unlike the former which is a bit unrealistic but both novels are magnificently created for greatness.
There was not a single time I felt bored or tired. It is not a short novel, thus I'm amazed that I finished it so fast, I wasn't even aware of it, for my mind was glued to the story. I will listen to it again and buy the book because I want to run my fingers through the pages and re-read my favorite parts. And as you can see, the top-notch writing was perfect and so was the unfolding of the story. The characters captivated me the most, though.
And finally, I loved this small story written by little Amir:
"That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms."
I tell ya, this book is AMAZING!
I have just started A Thousand Splendid Suns and have the same feelings for it as with this book...hard to put down and so insightful into the cultural differences in that part of the world
Most recent customer reviews
My first glimpse into Afghanistan and it destroyed me! Not sure i have the courage to read more.