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The Kite Runner

A 2003 novel by Khaled Hosseini.

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An Astonishing, Soulful Journey

  • Dec 16, 2004
  • by
THE KITE RUNNER, incredibly the 'first' novel by Khaled Hosseini, makes such an impact on the reader that the history of Afghanistan, the many characters of this tale, and an appreciation for the power of love, honor, tragedy, and the rendering of healing guilt for past commissions become an indelible part of our psyche.

While this novel is the story of two devoted childhood friends separated by the caste of society (wealth vs servant), the setting is such that for the first time we are able to understand the changes that occurred from the 1970s when Afghanistan was under the rule of the king, through Russian occupation, through the heinous rule of the Taliban, to the US entry into the brief war following 911. But this is not primarily a history book: Housseini adroitly uses the cultural aura and the warring background to explore the relationship of the two boys - Amir and Hassan - whose lives are far more intertwined than either would have ever thought.

As kite running happy children, boys who are in the rarefied atmosphere of imagination and dreams and camaraderie, an incident occurs that causes an abrupt schism and leads the cowardly Amir into a distancing from the needy Hassan, an act which eventually separates them as Amir and his wealthy father Baba move to the USA to escape the evils of the Taliban. The guilt that controls Amir's life ultimately drives him back to Afghanistan where he is able to find redemption for his past deeds in a most miraculous way. In the author's words: "Life goes on, unmindful of beginning, end, crisis or catharsis, moving forward like a slow, dusty caravan." "I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with the pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."

Telling any more of this utterly charming and stunning novel would be a great disservice to new readers. Suffice it to say that not only is Khaled Hosseini a gifted writer, writing in a style so simple and unfettered that it fits his narrator perfectly, he has written a book that acts as a magnet among readers: friends are gifting friends with this book after the impact of their experience between these covers. There may be greater writers with more finely honed writing skills (Michael Cunningham, Colm Toibin, TC Boyle, E Annie Proulx, etc etc etc): there are few writers who have a equal ability to completely capture the attention, the mind, the heart, and the spirit as well as Khaled Hosseini.

Recommendation: Read this book, honor your spirit, and then share it with those you love. Grady Harp, December 2004

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More The Kite Runner reviews
review by . April 18, 2010
What an extraordinary debut novel! "The Kite Runner" is two successes for the price of one - a compelling contemporary history of the travails of poverty-stricken, war torn Afghanistan and a heart-wrenching poignant family history touching on friendship, love, loyalty, culture shock, ethnicity, character, cowardice and bravery.       Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant and a Sunni Moslem. Hassan, the son of his father's servant, definitely born on the proverbial …
review by . June 23, 2010
This book was great in the beginning and the end. The middle got a little long. It is a very descriptive book. That is good in some cases and terrible in others. For example, I hated when the bullies did a little something to the servant (not using names or any details in case of a spoiler). I'm kind of queasy when it comes to that kind of thing. It was gross. I had trouble reading past that but had to because it was for school. My friend that was in my class thought the same thing. He thought …
review by . June 20, 2010
   I first read this book for a college class that i was attending. The book at first wasn't appealing at all. It looked long, but i had no choice but to read it. So i began and soon i was addicted to the book. I couldn't stop reading it. The book has a great plot with a touch of Afghanistan history in it. The story was great but before the book was discussed in class i didn't realize that there was a lot of other stuff within the story like the history, symbolism and stuff …
review by . June 15, 2010
An inspirational novel that truly captures the spirit of a boy growing up in war torn Afghanistan.  The author makes it easy to understand the traditions and lifestyle of the countrymen, while expressing the dangerous, exciting journey of one young Afghan.  The emotions of the protagonist and supporting characters can be felt through the words on the pages. The movie doesn't do as great of a job portraying the beauty of the culture because it focuses too much on the details of the …
review by . July 14, 2010
  Even I–who usually tries to steer clear of the groupthink of bestseller lists and the like–was vaguely familiar with Hosseini and his book The Kite Runner. Its major selling point for me was that it was about Afghanistan, a country I know little about except that which is fed to us via news services. Apparently this book has sold over 10 million copies, and that doesn’t include me, as I bought The Kite Runnersecondhand. Hosseini has written one subsequent …
review by . June 21, 2010
Being multicultural myself, I have always been drawn to books that tell me about other countries and cultures, life experiences that are very different than mine. With current events what they are, I felt especially drawn to this book, The Kite Runner, a first novel by Khaled Hosseini, born in Kabul, Afghanistan, but living in the United States since 1980. Like so many Americans, I know little of this country, even as we are deeply embroiled in its affairs. I wanted to learn, to see, to better understand. &nbs …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2010
This one really brought a different world and its issues into focus and brought them to life.
Quick Tip by . August 25, 2010
A powerful novel that is worth every second it takes to read it.
review by . June 16, 2010
I'm not kidding this is one of the best books I have ever read! The author does an amazing job with imagery, characterization, and plot to paint a beautiful, but painful picture of life in the middle east for a young boy who is torn between saving himself and saving others. The book is a page turner, and Im not going to lie, it is very emotional, and you might just find tears falling off your face. A great great book!
review by . June 04, 2010
In my opinion this was a well written book and a good story. i read it once in high school and then re read it years later. You can tell that the author really speaks from his heart in this story. It is a tragic tale that ends with redemption and what i thought to be if not happy at least a satisfactory ending.
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this book


The Kite Runner is a novel by the author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing plc, it is Hosseini's first novel, and was adapted into a film of the same name in 2007.

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who betrayed his best friend Hassan, the son of his father's Hazara servant, and lives in regret. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.

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ISBN-10: 1594480001
ISBN-13: 978-594480003
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Date Published: June 2003
ISBN: ISBN 1-59448-000-1
Format: Paperback
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1984 (British first edition)




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