Book Review: The Kite Runner

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This exceptional debut novel (and the very first Afghan novel written in English) by Khaled Hosseini utterly exposes the psychic wounds of an Afghani and his war-ravaged country. The Kite Runner tells a heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, and Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. Amir is Sunni; Hassan is Shi’a. One is born to a privileged class; the other to a loathed minority. One to a father of enormous presence; the other to a crippled man. One is a avid reader; the other illiterate.

Yet Amir and Hassan live and play together, not simply as friends, but as brothers without mothers. Their intimate story traces across the expansive image of history, 40 years in Afghanistan’s tragic evolution, just like a kite facing an ever-changing wind. The reader is blown from the last days of Kabul’s monarchy into the slaughter of the Taliban, which turned the boys’ green playing fields red with blood. As we progress through the story, we witness Amir’s immigration to America and his struggle to make a living in the Afghan sector of California. The script then picks a much lighter tune in terms of finding love and sustaining a father-son relationship that either fills your heart with joy or breaks it with tears. And then, suddenly when Amir is in his late thirties, he is called back to Afghanistan and begins a dangerous adventure, which requires not only great physical courage but also a voyage of self-discovery and redemption.

Through well-timed plot twists and revelations, Hosseini maintains a riveting pace that dares the reader to leave his story. The writing style is sparse and simple, yet it packs an emotional gravitation. The story is almost symbolic in its universal truths of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption. Some characters might not be well-written or don’t have the complexity of Amir’s but that’s totally forgiven, because Hosseini does a phenomenal job in laying down his characters to the reader and then provokes the reader to create the destiny of his characters. The novel is page-turner and hard to put it down especially at the advanced parts where Amir re-visits Afghanistan. The Kite Runner is definitely one of the best novels I have ever read, and I think it will maintain that spot for quite some time.

~Rating~

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Missy-TheOrginal on October 7, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Didn’t like the book. Too depressing, didn’t even finish it.

    Reply

  2. I agree with you on the rating and recommend “a thousand splendid suns” by the same author; it’s no less than “The kite runner”.

    Reply

  3. I agree with your assessment, Angelo, and your summary of the book captures everything in summary without diminishing it’s impact. Great review! What are you reading now? It’s hard to find something when you’ve just finished Kite Runner, hard to find something so gripping, so compelling. I second True Faith – A thousand Splendid Suns is a worthy successor to Kite Runner.

    Reply

  4. Posted by vixenfatale on October 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    truly amazing.. like the critic says, everything seems bland after it.. till i read his other book a thousand splendid suns!

    Reply

  5. @Missy

    LOL, then you really really REALLY shouldn’t read A Thousand Splendid Suns. It truly defines what depression is.

    @True Faith

    I actually finished it and it was truly heartbreaking. I might review it soon.

    @Per Your Request

    I know and I’m going to watch it DAY ONE.

    @Intlxpatr

    I finished actually “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and just concluded “The Golden Compass” by Pullman. I’m thinking of reading “Love In The Time of Cholera” but I still haven’t made my mind yet.

    PS: Have you read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostavo. It’s a brilliant book.

    @Vixen

    True, it was an exceptional experience to me personally. I haven’t read anything like it.

    Reply

  6. Posted by donnie on December 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    This book was amazing! It changed the way I see people and my black and white mentality. I loved it!

    Reply

  7. I agree, this was a simply fantastic piece of literature. It got into so many topics that you don’t usually here about in modern day news or books, and it’s drawing me more towards more topics such as this.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Sorahya on January 17, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I absolutely adore this book. A Thousand Splendid Suns is JUST as fantastic, if not better. I got much more emotional when reading that one.. I strongly recommend both.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Lianna on November 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    The kite runner was, is, and always will be one of my favorite books.

    Reply

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