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The Kite Runner Paperback – 17 Apr 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (17 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747566534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747566533
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,648 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read and beloved novelists in the world, with over thirty eight million copies of his books sold in more than seventy countries. The Kite Runner was a major film and was a Book of the Decade, chosen by The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardian. A Thousand Splendid Suns was the Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year in 2008. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and lives in northern California.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini's deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land. Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir's closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with "a face like a Chinese doll" was the son of Amir's father's servant and a member of Afghanistan's despised Hazara minority. But in 1975, on the day of Kabul's annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

Narrated by Amir, a 40-year-old novelist living in California, The Kite Runner tells the gripping story of a boyhood friendship destroyed by jealousy, fear, and the kind of ruthless evil that transcends mere politics. Running parallel to this personal narrative of loss and redemption is the story of modern Afghanistan and of Amir's equally guilt-ridden relationship with the war-torn city of his birth. The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner begins in the final days of King Zahir Shah's 40-year reign and traces the country's fall from a secluded oasis to a tank-strewn battlefield controlled by the Russians and then the trigger-happy Taliban. When Amir returns to Kabul to rescue Hassan's orphaned child, the personal and the political get tangled together in a plot that is as suspenseful as it is taut with feeling.

The son of an Afghan diplomat whose family received political asylum in the United States in 1980, Hosseini combines the unflinching realism of a war correspondent with the satisfying emotional pull of master storytellers such as Rohinton Mistry. Like the kite that is its central image, the story line of this mesmerizing first novel occasionally dips and seems almost to dive to the ground. But Hosseini ultimately keeps everything airborne until his heartrending conclusion in an American picnic park. --Lisa Alward, Amazon.ca --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Beautifully nuanced, and the moment of Amir's ultimate betrayal is genuinely shocking. It is a passionate story' -- Literary Review

'If you liked The God of Small Things, then you'll love The Kite Runner ... compelling' -- Image Magazine

'My top fiction book of the year ... marvellous' -- Joanna Trollope, Books of the Year, The Observer

'Told with simplicity and poise, it is a novel of great hidden intricacy and wisdom like a timeless Eastern tale' -- Daily Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

216 of 225 people found the following review helpful By bobbewig on 5 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
When it was suggested that I read The Kite Runner, I put off doing so for a long time because I am primarily a "thriller/suspense/mystery" type-of-guy. That was a mistake that I'm glad I eventually corrected. The Kite Runner is an astonishing, powerful book that had me riveted from the first to the last page. It is a story of fierce cruelty and yet redeeming love, as well as of an intimate account of family and friendship. Both transform the life of Amir, the main character, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the Afghani monarchy; just before Afghanistan's revolution and its invasion by Russian troops. Hosseini is a masterful writer whose prose and narrative style ooze emotion. If you have any hesitancy about reading this book, as I did, put your doubts aside and rush out to get yourself a copy of The Kite Runner. You'll be very glad you did. It is not only a book that will keep you from doing anything else but turning the pages, it is a book that will stay in your head and heart for years to come. It is that good!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Hancock on 9 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
As someone who has visited Afghanistan several times I was pleased to see a popular novel set in the country. Hosseini's writing style in the first half of the book is delightful and he could have created a modern literary classic. But by the second half he has decided to dump Nobel for Hollywood. He uses just about every worn-out cliched emotional writing device there is and then peppers it with so many preposterous coincidences I was left open-mouthed at the audacity of it all. It will have them weeping in the aisles down the Odeon, no doubt about it. But it could have been so much more.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ian on 18 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
A wonderful book which pulls all the emotional strings, making you think that it is an autobiography. Maybe a touch too contrived towards the end but that is a tiny critiscism of one of the best books I have read in a long time. I hope they don't try and make a film of it, the characters should stay alive in the brilliant word pictures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andy Miller on 13 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book came with a shower of critical plaudits from both literary reviewers and word-of-mouth accounts. And for me, the majority of this book fully deserves the accolades that adorn its covers - `masterful and painfully honest', `rich in warmth and humour' and `vivid and engaging'.

The book divides into four different sections, the opening one dealing with events in the childhood of Amir in Kabul before the Russian invasion of the late 1970s. I found this to be beautifully written. Familiar emotions surrounding childhood and friendship are wonderfully evoked and made all the more convincing by the veins of jealously, fear and cowardice that become revealed when this friendship is tested. I was introduced to a relatively unfamiliar culture in a beguiling manner, with more familiar social processes such as power, wealth and hierarchical relationships subtly revealed as the tale is told. And the physical locations - the groves of trees, the city streets, and the rooms and courtyard of Amir's home - are delightfully portrayed.

The second section moves to a Californian city, and an Afghan immigrant community. Again, this is a wonderful depiction of an uprooted people struggling to preserve dignity and social protocols particularly in the life of the garage sale flea markets.

The novel worked far less well for me though in the third section. To say too much would give away the overall structure but the fast-paced adventure here seems far-fetched in places, the characters and their experiences less convincing. In the final section, however, a sense of authenticity returns rounding off the novel in a satisfying fashion.

I found the majority of this book extremely moving.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Oskam on 13 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
Amir and Hassan grow up together in Kabul in the seventies. Amir is the son of a rich and influential man, Hassan the son of his handicapped but very appreciated servant. The boys seem inseparable, but despite everything there is always the difference in standing. And then on the day of the big kite competition in Kabul something happens that turns their friendship upside down. In the beginning of the eighties Amir and his father flee to America, where Amir marries and becomes a writer. But his past with Hassan is haunting him. Then he is called to Pakistan by the dying best friend of his late father and he finally hears the secret that changes the meaning of his past. In the end he has to go back to Kabul (which is now ruled by the Taliban) to come to terms with his past and save Hassan's son.

This is truely a magnificent book that grips you from the first page. It is awful and beautiful and contains every aspect of life: friendship, treason, love and a villain and gives wonderful descriptions of Central Asia and the Afghan culture as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers TOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Amir is a boy growing up in 1970's Afghanistan. His mother died in childbirth, and he is being raised by his father. His constant companion during his childhood is his father's servant's son. Also motherless, Hassan and Amir are mostly inseparable, although Amir will push Hassan to the background when other friends are around. Hassan, on the other hand, is loyal to a fault, willing to do anything that Amir cooks up.

Then, during the winter of 1975, personal tragedy strikes the boys when Amir witnesses an unspeakable act being done to Hassan. Racked with guilt, Amir pushes Hassan away.

Years later, Amir has managed to forget about his past. Now living in America, he thinks it is all behind him. But when his past comes calling, what will he do?

Having enjoyed author Khaled Hosseini's second book, I decided to backtrack and read this one. It wasn't nearly as good. Part of what made that second book special was the glimpsed of life in a foreign country. Here, half the book takes place in San Francisco, hardly foreign. And the plot was fairly predictable, often leaving me bored while I waited for something unexpected to happen. The characters were well drawn, however. I especially felt for Amir and identified with him a little too much.

A word of warning. This book does involve sexual abuse. It is not graphic, but it is rather disturbing. That's one reason why I put off reading it for so long. So if that bothers you, know what you are getting into before you pick it up.

This is a decent debut novel. But it had some kinks to be worked out. It's good, but not as great as the buzz would lead you to believe.
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