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The Kite Runner [Paperback]

Khaled Hosseini
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,204 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 April 2004
Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him - for he always helps Amir - but this is 1970s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir still feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father's heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

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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 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,862 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
199 of 204 people found the following review helpful
By bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kite Runner 18 Jan 2006
By Ian
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC 23 July 2007
Format:Paperback
Wow this book is something else. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns first and enjoyed it so much, i had real trouble getting into any other book after.The Kite Runner is even better if thats possible. It is so so moving you will need your tissues at hand. It has left a long lasting impression on myself. I look forward to reading it again. I hope it's not long before we get another book from Hosseini.This is a 5 star plus rating. You must read it.
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80 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
'The Kite Runner tells the story of boyhood betrayal, sacrifice and ultimate redemption set mainly in Afghanistan and the US. The main character, Amir grows up in a somewhat affluent area of Kabul with his father (Baba) and their servants Ali and Hassan. Amir and Hassan are boyhood companions who could have been friends but for their ethnic differences and, more importantly, Baba's seeming preference for Hassan. The early parts of the book mainly consider the relationships between these four characters amid the changing face of Afghanistan as revolutionary war tears the country apart.

Following the betrayal, Amir engineers the departure of Ali and Hassan and sometime later he and his father flee to the US in search of a better life. Amir grows up, enters a loving but childless marriage and following the death of his father, becomes a successful author before receiving the call to return to Afghanistan, right his wrongs and learn the truth about...(well that would spoil the story).

This is a beautifully written novel that captures the essence of pre-revolutionary Afghanistan, its descent into chaos and terror, the coming (and going) of the Russians and the rise of the Taliban. In fact this message is so powerful it is not always clear if Amir's story is used as a vehicle to highlight the plight of Afghanistan or the other way round. Does this matter? Maybe not, by the end of the book you feel a stronger affinity for Afghanistan than Amir.

Despite the quality of the writing, the plot itself reveals a number of weaknesses where events seem a little too contrived - a little too neat, and the section set in the US could have benefited from severe editing. Overall though, we liked this book mainly because of the vibrant style and the manner in which Afghanistan over the last quarter century is so convincingly presented.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A. J. Sudworth VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I usually read historical novels and sci-fi so this is a bit of a departure for me but well worth it. This is a story of friendship and redemption (but not in the obvious way..) set in the years before the Russian invasion of Afganistan and after the fall of the Taliban. The friendship of two boys (Amir and Hassan) is brought to life in the eraly part of the book and the under currents of the complex family realtionships that eventually give Amir the chance to correct what he regards as his cowardice.

I won't spoil the plot but the book by turns captures the innocence of childhood, how Amir finally grows up and his determination not to let his friend down - even if it through Hassans son and not Hassan. The book vividly captures the Afghan lifestyle both before Russia and after the Taliban takeover, it is in one moment a beautifully descriptive book and then wham ! a very brutal story

This is not one to dip into - you'll get caught in the story and I defy you not to be moved
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! A thousand times over... 20 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback
Without doubt, one of the best books I have ever read.

Against the background of a falling Afghanistan, Amir's quest for acceptance by his father and redemption from his boyhood-innocent arrogance and betrayal leads you through a throat-lumping, tearful journey peppered with joy and hope.

Once immersed in Amir's story, it is nearly impossible to put this book down and can be re-read over and over. I can't recommend this book enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterclass in Writing 7 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought my copy of the Kite Runner a few months ago, but put off reading it because I was a little worried that I didn't know enough about the troubles in Afghanistan to follow the story.

I needn't have worried.

The characters are richly drawn, with a protagonist whose reprehensible cowardice and cold manipulation of a devoted friend - astonishingly - inspires genuine empathy and understanding. All credit to the author for pulling this off.

The prose is extraordinarily vivid and (at times) poetic, but nonetheless crisp and engaging. In contrast with the reviewer below, I found the story utterly believable; the monstrous villain of the piece, 'Assef', terrifyingly so, and brilliantly symbolic of what happens when you combine corruption, religious fanaticism and politics. As in real life, happy endings are in short supply, but there is always hope.

The Kite Runner is not light-reading; the tragic events that ensue can be, at times, emotionally exhausting, but it is ultimately a rewarding read. By far the best book I've read this year.

(Some of us really don't care about tank carcasses being repeated after a ten-page interval... some read for pleasure, not to find fault, and this book was an absolute pleasure.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A devastating tale which will move you to tears more than once. If it does not you are not human!
Published 1 day ago by Samantha Whitham
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into a perspective not seen in the media
Perhaps if I'd known that this book was set, initially, in Afghanistan I possibly wouldn't have chosen it. Read more
Published 2 days ago by H. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read it!
Had been aware of this book for a while as a 'should read' but it had never really appealed until someone gave me a copy. From the first few pages I was hooked. Read more
Published 2 days ago by greeneye18
4.0 out of 5 stars A dramatic and harrowing life story
A well written, interesting story, a window into a different culture and a period in history. I found it difficult to empathise with the leading character Amir in the beginning but... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Linda Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kite runner
It is a very moving story with a few twists. I would recommend this book for all readers young or old.
Published 4 days ago by Irene
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Couldn't put this down when I first read it and can't wait to read it again. Heart warming, heart breaking and heart stopping all in one book. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Janet Dickinson
4.0 out of 5 stars great read
Not my normal choice of book, but recommended by a friend! A little apprehensive at the start but it didn't take long to become absorbed. Read more
Published 5 days ago by LL
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Finally read the book after many years and so well written. Was told I would enjoy it and so it turned out.
Published 6 days ago by Tricky
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kite Runner
Fab book, gripping, heart wrenching... I am looking forward to the next two instalments from Khaled Hosseini, brilliant and imaginative writer
Published 8 days ago by Ms T Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kite Runner
My daughter read this at school for English she had be on at me for sometime to read it so glad I did what a beautiful written story with great characters.
Published 9 days ago by Nicky Jones
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