|From the Publisher
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption. And it is also about the power of fathers over sons -- their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvasses of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject -- the devastating history of Afghanistan over the past thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut.
About the Author:
This epic novel is set in Afghanistan, beginning in the days of the monarchy and reaching to the early 21st century. Amir is the son of a wealthy man; his best friend is Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Growing up in Kabul, the two share an idyllic childhood until a traumatic event--and Amir's act of cowardly betrayal--changes the nature of their friendship. Amir, who ends up in America, is tortured by his betrayal of Hassan, and he finds himself compelled to return, years later, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan to make amends. THE KITE RUNNER, written by an Afghani--now a physician--whose family found asylum in the U.S. in 1980--personalizes the conflicts in Afghanistan and the US involvement there. A debut novel, it was hailed by critics for its poetic prose and vivid characters.
"Here's a real find: a striking debut from an Afghan now living in the US....Rather than settle for a coming-of-age or travails-of-immigrants story, Hosseini has folded them both into this searing spectacle of hard-won personal salvation. All this, and a rich slice of Afghan culture too: irresistible." 05/01/2003
Customer Reviews of The Kite Runner
Kite Runner FANTASTIC5/27/2008
This book should be required reading in all high school classes. In addition to being very well written, the story exposes the reader to a culture that they may not be familiar with prior to reading the book.
I thought this book was average at best.2/23/2006
I thought this book was average at best. For about the first half of this book I was totally enthralled. It felt more like a biography or a memoir than a work of fiction. The author's writing style is rather staightforward which adds to the gritty realistic feel of the storyline. I suspect much of the first half of the book is based on true life recollections of the author. His description of growing up in 60's/70's Kabul could only have come from someone who lived it. Either that or he is indeed an extremely gifted writer. (Based on the book jacket blurb, he does indeed seem to have grown up in an upper class Kabul family, as does the main character. ) The story of the relationship of the two main characters as established in the first half is compelling. The main problem however is that about halfway though the story is propelled by some rather incredulous coincidences. I felt a bit let down that the integrity of the narrative was subverted as the protagonist experiences one wild coincidence after another. The author could have followed the general story line without them and it would have been far more satisfying. I do recommend this book. It is well written and fascinating to learn of life in a different cuilture. Just be prepared to put your credibility on hold for some of it.
I also recommend-The Quest-by Giorgio Kostantinos. A great five-star thriller.
The Kite Runner. In this riveting novel, narrator and protagonist Amir is told by his mentor, Rahim Khan, that only good men suffer from the mistakes of their past. And in the pages of Khaled Hosseini's debut novel, THE KITE RUNNER, Amir does indeed suffer from his egregious--almost unconscionable--behavior: behavior and inaction that betray his childhood friend. Fleeing war-ravaged Afghanistan with his father in the 1980s, finding love and success in the San Francisco Bay area, Amir continues to be haunted by his past--by images of Hassan, his best friend, the son of his father's servant. Hassan showed nothing but devotion to Amir; following a brutal incident in the wake of a wonderful kite tournament in Kabul, Amir rejected, then turned his back on Hassan. Throughout the novel the pain lingers, year after year, until Amir's mentor summons him to return to Afghanistan--now raped and pillaged by the Taliban--to atone for his past mistakes.
Hosseini's account of two inseparable boys growing up in a relatively quiet and peaceful Kabul of the 1970s is wonderfully written. The sights, sounds, smells, customs, of a distant land and a distant culture resonate as the author weaves his story. Yet there is an ominous undertone of impending darkness and gloom, beginning with Amir's betrayal of Hassan, and the novel subsequently embarks on a most sorrowful, sad, and painful journey. Amir's return to Afghanistan--only months before the 9/11 attacks--to search for a little boy is spellbinding as it is excruciating. Again, Hosseini's writing evokes strong emotions--right up to the very last sentence.
As much as I would love to give THE KITE RUNNER five stars, I am disturbed by two very troublesome components, both of an editorial nature. I can live with an occasional author error or inconsistency in a given scene; unfortunately, this novel suffers from several. (As an example, in one scene a character crushes his cigarette, then four paragraphs later takes a drag on the cigarette.) It is inexcusable for a major publishing house like Riverhead to release a book containing errors that stick out like a ten-inch sore thumb. Second, while it is understandable Hosseini wishes to find his writing "voice," it becomes annoying, after awhile, and as the scenes become more dramatic, for the author to plug in a run-on sentence, followed promptly by a sentence fragment. Such devices inherently get in the way of the story, and the story is first and foremost tantamount to the reading experience.
Annoying (and disappointing) components, to be sure, yet THE KITE RUNNER is a compelling, engrossing story which reminds me of 'The Quest' by Giorgio Kostantinos both I very much recommend. --.
A magnificent work... it touches deep within1/14/2005
A gripping, poignant story that opens one's eyes and charges the heart. Five big stars for Hosseini!