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211 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Times Heart-Warming, At Times Heart-Wrenching, But Always Riveting!,
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...
Published on 5 Jun 2008 by Bobbewig

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg
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...
Published on 9 Jan 2007 by David Hancock


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211 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Times Heart-Warming, At Times Heart-Wrenching, But Always Riveting!,, 5 Jun 2008
By 
Bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Redemption Taliban style, 28 Dec 2007
By 
Trevor Coote "Trevor Coote" (Tahiti, French Polynesia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kite Runner (Paperback)
This acclaimed work starts out as a coming-of-age novel in 1970s Afghanistan, one of the rare quiet periods in that sad country's turbulent history. The narrator Amir is born into a middle-class Pashtun family and is raised with the son of his father's Hazara servant Hassan (the most likable character in the book) who becomes his closest friend. Therein lay the central issue of the story. The Hazaras are of Turkic-Mongol origin and ethnically distinct from the haughty Caucasian Pashtun who historically have treated them with, at the very best, disdain. The friendship between the two boys is resented by many. Throughout - unintentionally I'm sure - we witness the destructive effects of those most mediaeval of concepts: pride, honour and duty. After witnessing a terrible incident and failing to act, Amir appears doomed to pass the rest of his life on a giant guilt trip. When the Soviets invade Afghanistan he and his father flee the country and head for California. Written in plain almost simple prose the story then develops a Hollywood feel as it takes a series of twists and turns leading up to a redemptive spaghetti western-style showdown in which Amir finally atones for the error of his past. I got the feeling that this was written with a film version in mind (not surprising considering the author resides in California) with the Taliban portrayed as the depraved, black-bearded baddies. Nevertheless, it is a fine and interesting novel, always honest and often poignant (if a little too mawkish for my own taste), most noticeably in the passages dealing with the doomed relationship between Amir and Hassan, and in Amir's heart-breaking return to his war-torn homeland. In fact, Afghanistan's slow descent into hell is painfully chronicled and forms the tragic backdrop to this novel. Moral of the story: Don't make errors in your past.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kite Runner, 18 Jan 2006
By 
Ian "Ianphot" (Oxford, OXON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg, 9 Jan 2007
By 
David Hancock (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! A thousand times over..., 20 Sep 2007
By 
Mark Blyth (Milton Keynes, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, 24 Mar 2007
By 
N. A. Roberts (Frome) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kite Runner (Paperback)
Most books you forget the minute you put them down. Then one comes along that you know you will carry with you for a long time. The Kite Runner is the latter. I felt I was reading an autobiography and I was hooked. Yes, there are cliches and coincidences but it is fiction. Maybe because it is Hosseini's first book it is unpretentious, making it accessible. If like me, you know very little about Afghanistan it is informative. It is about how far you may go for parental approval, for friendship or for redemption. You may hate, despise or despair of the narrator but you cannot help but understand him, most of the time. Some characters are despicable, most are endearing.

If you want to have a small insight into Afghan society both in Afghanistan and the States, read about Kabul under the snow, imagine what it may have been like to come face to face with the Taliban, run through the streets of Kabul after a kite, do read The Kite Runner, you will enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely magnificent book, 13 Sep 2006
By 
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, emotional experience - with a few flaws, 13 Jan 2008
By 
Andy Miller (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Kite Runner (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. It is rare that I put down a novel so frequently, affected so strongly by its themes and the directness of its writing. However, perhaps because of the reservation voiced above, the last few times this happened, I did have a sense of Hosseini more deliberately attempting to manipulate my emotions, more as a writer's exercise than because the novel really necessitated it.

In summary, I found this a striking, beautiful and original book. The distractions that were present for me were not enough to detract from this overall impression.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite as Good as I was Lead to Believe, 24 Oct 2007
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Kite Runner (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching., 26 Sep 2007
By 
maya j (Quail Crossing) - See all my reviews
'The Kite Runner' is a well-written, poignant and heartbreaking story of two young boys in Afghanistan and their lost innocence. From the start, `The Kite Runner' draws you in, emotionally and intellectually, giving you a vision of life in an Afghanistan we may never see again. `The Kite Runner' begins in a time of relative innocence and charm that Afghanistan possessed before the deleterious conflicts of the past 30 years. It shows us a people who were proud of their country, reveling in its traditions. But it also shows us how Afghanistan was at once moving forward and prospering, yet still retaining its tradition of prejudice against peoples of certain tribes or clans. We are taken on a journey that brings us to modern day Afghanistan and its horrible nightmare of oppression and violence perpetrated by the Taliban. It is through these filters that we read the story, narrated by a young boy named Amir, of his friendship with another young boy named Hassan and how their relationship is altered by tragedies and secrecy under the shadow of these religious, political and tribal influences.

To begin with, Khaled Hosseini is a master of character development, such that you see into the soul of his characters- truly feeling their joy, sorrow and pain. I can't even count how many times I was driven to tears and astonished by the lack of humanity perpetrated by more than a few characters. The book is both riveting and heart-wrenchingly sad, and it gives new meaning to what it takes to be loyal (or disloyal) and the devastating effects pride and secrecy can have on a family. As Amir narrates his story from youth into adulthood, we are witness to his horribly selfish and disgraceful behavior, and we are haunted by one atrocity after another. However, as the story moves along and circumstances change, you find yourself cheering for Amir as he tries to redeem himself for his past transgressions and put an end to the torment in his head played out over the many years. In page after page, there is tragedy and heartache, and you wonder just how much people can take, but you keep reading...with hope. The kite festivals imbue the story with symbolism, and you learn what it means for friends to run kites, both literally and metaphorically. The book grabs you until the very end, where you feel not happy, not sad, but hopeful. Khaled Hosseini doesn't sugarcoat reality; he doesn't give you the neatly wrapped-up happy ending you're longing for, but he gives you food for thought and a chance to decide on your own how you think this story will continue. At the end, the anguish and heartache in the book finally give way to a sort of calm and contentment, but for the characters in the book, the end is not really the end- it's just the beginning, and you feel a glimmer of hope that everything will be made right again...finally.
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