The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

2003

he Kite Runner easily divides into three main sections: Amir's childhood in Kabul; Amir and Baba's years in Fremont, California; and, finally, Amir's return to Kabul. The plot covers multiple betrayals and offers the possibility of redemp...

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DramaHistorical Fiction

371 Pages
4.7

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he Kite Runner easily divides into three main sections: Amir's childhood in Kabul; Amir and Baba's years in Fremont, California; and, finally, Amir's return to Kabul. The plot covers multiple betrayals and offers the possibility of redemption – though by no means is redemption assured.

The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan's monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.

 

Hosseini has commented that he considers The Kite Runner to be a father–son story, emphasizing the familial aspects of the narrative, an element that he continued to use in his later works.Themes of guilt and redemption feature prominently in the novel,with a pivotal scene depicting an act of sexual assault that happens against Hassan that Amir fails to prevent. The situation as a whole was the main reason why Amir and Hassan's friendship ended. The latter half of the book centers on Amir's attempts to atone for this transgression by rescuing Hassan's son two decades later.

 

The Kite Runner became a bestseller after being printed in paperback and was popularized in book clubs. It was a number one New York Times bestseller for over two years,with over seven million copies sold in the United States.Reviews were generally positive, though parts of the plot drew significant controversy in Afghanistan. A number of adaptations were created following publication, including a 2007 film of the same name, several stage performances, and a graphic novel.

 

Khaled Hosseini (March 4, 1965) is an Afghan-American novelist and physician.After graduating from college, he worked as a doctor in California, a predicament that he likened to "an arranged marriage."He has published three novels, most notably his 2003 debut The Kite Runner, all of which are at least partially set in Afghanistan and feature an Afghan as the protagonist. Following the success of The Kite Runner he retired from medicine to write full-time.

 

Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father worked as a diplomat, and when Hosseini was 11 years old, the family moved to France; four years later, they applied for asylum in the United States, where he later became a citizen. Hosseini did not return to Afghanistan until 2001 at the age of 36, where he "felt like a tourist in [his] own country". In interviews about the experience, he admitted to sometimes feeling survivor's guilt for having been able to leave the country before the Soviet invasion and subsequent wars.

 

All three of his novels became bestsellers: The Kite Runner (2003) spent 101 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, four of them at number one.A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) was a Times Best Seller for 103 weeks, 15 at number one.And the Mountains Echoed (2013) debuted near the top of the Times list and remained on it for 33 weeks until January 2014

 

Review:

theguardian.com

A gripping and emotional story of betrayal and redemption, The Kite Runner had me thrilled and moved, both at the same time. It tells the story of Amir and Hassan, the closest of friends, as good as brothers, and also experts in the art of kite flying. The two young boys live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and this year they are going to try harder than ever to win the local kite-fighting tournament—a popular Afghan pastime, and this is Amir's one hope of winning his father's love. But just like the kites battling in the sky, war comes to Afghanistan, and the country becomes an extremely dangerous place.

 

In war, people are often forced to make great sacrifices, and the young Amir himself commits an act of betrayal, towards his best friend Hassan no less, which will haunt him for the rest of his life. Amir and his father are forced to flee Afghanistan for America, and The Kite Runner becomes the story of Amir's quest for redemption – righting the wrongs he committed all those years ago as a boy in Kabul.

 

The story is fast-paced and hardly ever dull, and introduced me to a world – the world of Afghan life – which is strange, fascinating and yet oddly familiar all at the same time. Hosseini's writing finds a great balance between being clear and yet powerful, and not only is the story itself brilliantly constructed, but the book also explores the very art of storytelling. Amir himself becomes a writer, and he reflects on his experiences in the story as though his life itself were a piece of fiction (which of course it is!).

 

But I think the best bit about the kite runner is its sense of fate and justice, of good overcoming evil in the end, despite all odds. Without giving away the ending, Amir ends up back in Afghanistan and makes a very different set of sacrifices in order to set things straight. The final chapter of the book is perhaps my favourite, and one that I have found moving even when rereading it. The message behind the very ending could be interpreted differently by different readers, but personally I feel that it offers a small sense of hope for both the future of its characters, and perhaps for war-torn Afghanistan as well.

 

Age: Despite the controversy The Kite Runner is a thought provoking novel that is very popular among readers of ages 14 and up.

 

 

 

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