The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Historical fiction, drama
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 372
Release date: 29th May, 2003
Age Group: 16+ (according to me)

Synopsis: It's the 1960s and Amir is a motherless child of a wealthy Kabul merchant. He is also a Pashtun, the ruling social caste of Afghanistan. Amir grew up with his servant, Hassan, who is a Hazara - the abused, impoverished and despised caste. Even though Hassan is Amir's constant companion, Amir sometimes treats him badly. But who cares, right? He's only a Hazara.

One day, though, Amir betrays his loyal servant by turning on him when he needs him the most. Amir knows that he should've helped his companion, but instead he ran away like a coward, and as his guilt builds, the mere sight of Hassan becomes painful. Amir betrays him once again, forcing him and his crippled father from their family home.

Soon after they leave, war rages in Kabul as the Russians invade. Amir and his father are forced to flee; first to Pakistan, then to the U.S. After several years in the States, Amir still can't forget his past, and the bond between the two boys forces Amir back to Afghanistan to redeem himself, with the dangers of the Taliban following him every step of the way.

The Kite Runner is a heartbreaking story of friendship, betrayal and redemption. It is written so well, with all the foreshadowing and the flashbacks, that I can barely believe that this is Khaled Hosseini's debut novel. It perfectly portrays the sweeping story of family and love in the midst of the devastating history of Afghanistans recent war-raged years. The author's writing is so well done and the plot-line is so emotional that I had to make myself read the book slowly so I could savour it.

And oh lord. This book. I can - with almost no doubt - say that this book is my favourite book ever. The Kite Runner had me crying after only 7 pages into the book. It was so amazing and made me feel so many different feelings.

I think that the biggest factor as to why this hit me so hard, is that I know someone who was very close to me Before and who actually is a Hazara, and everything that happened to the Hazaras in the book made me feel so much more because of that, since I already knew some things about Hazaras on beforehand. Another factor that made me so engaged with the book was probably that my parents are from Pakistan, and many of the pashto words in the book were very similar to urdu words. This way I felt like I was more connected to the book, and also especially since some parts of the novel were taking place in Pakistan. Because of this, maybe some people might not enjoy this novel as much as I did, but I would still recommend it to almost everyone who is mature enough to read about war, rape etc.

I was kind of confused at times, since I am a socialist and didn't know what to think about the political parts of the novel, but I easily googled and established what my opinion on the politics were. Even then, this book isn't as much about politics as family, friendship and love, so the politics weren't that important.


Let's start with the spoiler section of this review. First off, I want to talk about Amir. In the beginning, I hated him for almost everything he did towards Hassan, and even towards the ending he wasn't the best main character, according to me. For example, in the first half of the novel he often teased Hassan for not being able to read and for not understanding some words, and sometimes he got jealous when his father complemented Hassan instead of him. This made me angry, since Hassan is literally a servant and instead, Hassan should be jealous of all the things Amir gets to do that he doesn't, but it was the other way around. Amir was jealous of Hassan for small things that barely even matter in that situation. Although, since he was a kid it is understandable that he got jealous, and since he'd always wished for his father's praise, I kind of get it.

Towards the end I grew to like Amir more and more, but parts of me still couldn't accept what he had done to Hassan in the beginning of the book (like making him and Ali leave the house, not helping him when Assef raped him and teasing him etc.) and therefore I couldn't forgive him for that. Still, what Amir did for Hassans son in the end deserves praise, and parts of me grew to like him for it. Basically, there was a lot of character growth for Amir and I appreciated that a lot.

I had already been spoiled to the fact that Hassan and Amir were half-brother's, so it didn't come as a shock to me, although it still filled me with feelings and emotions, and I was still very affected by it. I was also spoiled about the fact that Assef raped Hassan and that Assef also later became a big part of the Taliban, but that didn't matter so much since I still got very emotional reading it and I was still hit really hard by feels when I read about those events.

Now, let's talk about Amir's Baba (and obviously also Hassan's Baba). At times, I had a lot of sympathy for him, and at times I hated him, but mostly, I understood him. Even though I hated that he didn't do anything to help the enslavement of Hazaras, I knew he would've gotten a lot of people against him if he did, and it would only make things worse. Sometimes though I loved him, for example when he built that orphanage entirely from his own money, even when his people advised him that he shouldn't.

I loved the part where Baba went to Soraya's home to ask for her hand in marriage for Amir. I also loved Soraya, she was such an amazing human being and I loved the way she tried to make Sohrab a part of their family Sohrab after they had adopted him and taken him home to the U.S.

I never thought that a book could have me crying after only 7 pages, since I'm scarcely ever cry for books, but this book made me do it. The part where I started crying the first time was when the soldier called out to Hassan that he had raped (?) his Hazara mother behind a tree close by. That obviously wasn't the only part I cried for, basically I cried constantly throughout the book...

The conclusion is basically that I think this is an amazing book that everyone should read atleast once in their life-time, even though they might not connect with the book in the way I did.

DISCLAIMER: The summary is partly taken from other sources, but most parts of the summary are my own words.
My rating: 5/5 stars


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