The Kite Runner: How to Read and Enjoy Khaled Hosseini's Bestselling Novel Online
# The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: A Book Review - Introduction - A brief summary of the book and its author - The main themes and topics of the book - The purpose and scope of the review - Background and Context - A brief overview of the historical and cultural setting of the book - The significance and impact of the book on Afghan literature and society - The reception and criticism of the book by readers and critics - Plot and Characters - A summary of the main events and conflicts in the book - An analysis of the main characters and their relationships - A discussion of the role of kite flying in the book - Style and Structure - An evaluation of the author's writing style and language use - A commentary on the structure and organization of the book - A comparison of the book with other works by the author or in the same genre - Themes and Messages - An identification and explanation of the major themes and messages of the book - A reflection on how the themes and messages relate to contemporary issues and values - A personal opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the book - Conclusion - A summary of the main points and findings of the review - A recommendation for who should read the book and why - A closing remark on the overall impression of the book Here is the article based on that outline: # The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: A Book Review ## Introduction The Kite Runner is a novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, published in 2003 by Riverhead Books. It tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul, who grows up with his friend and servant Hassan, a Hazara. The novel spans over three decades, from the fall of the Afghan monarchy to the rise of the Taliban regime, and explores themes such as friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption, loyalty, family, identity, culture, and violence. The purpose of this review is to provide a critical analysis of the novel, focusing on its plot, characters, style, structure, themes, and messages. The review will also examine the background and context of the novel, as well as its reception and impact. The review will aim to answer questions such as: What makes The Kite Runner a compelling and memorable story? How does Hosseini portray Afghanistan and its people? What are the main lessons and insights that readers can gain from reading The Kite Runner? ## Background and Context The Kite Runner is set in Afghanistan, a country that has been ravaged by war, poverty, oppression, and extremism for decades. Hosseini draws on his own personal experience as an Afghan immigrant who left his homeland in 1980, after the Soviet invasion. He also incorporates historical facts and events into his fictional narrative, such as the 1973 coup d'état that overthrew King Zahir Shah, the 1979 Soviet invasion that triggered a resistance movement known as the mujahideen, the 1992 civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the 1996 takeover by the Taliban that imposed a strict Islamic rule, and the 2001 US-led intervention that toppled the Taliban regime. The Kite Runner is considered to be one of the first novels to introduce Afghan literature and culture to a global audience. It has been translated into 46 languages and has sold over seven million copies in the United States alone. It has also been adapted into a film, a stage play, and a graphic novel. The novel has received widespread acclaim from critics and readers alike, who praised its powerful storytelling, emotional depth, historical accuracy, cultural authenticity, and moral complexity. However, it has also faced some controversy and criticism in Afghanistan, where some people objected to its portrayal of ethnic tensions, sexual violence, religious extremism, and political corruption. ## Plot and Characters The Kite Runner follows Amir's journey from childhood to adulthood as he struggles with his past sins and seeks redemption. The novel is divided into three parts: Part One covers Amir's childhood in Kabul until 1975; Part Two covers Amir's life in America from 1981 to 2001; Part Three covers Amir's return to Afghanistan in 2001. The main events and conflicts in the novel are: - Amir's friendship with Hassan, who is loyal, brave, and selfless, but also poor, illiterate, and discriminated against by the Pashtun majority. - Amir's relationship with his father Baba, who is wealthy, respected, and generous, but also distant, demanding, and disappointed in Amir's lack of courage and masculinity. - Amir's participation in the annual kite flying tournament, which is a popular and symbolic sport in Afghanistan, where kite flyers compete to cut each other's kites with glass-coated strings. - Amir's betrayal of Hassan, who is raped by Assef, a sadistic bully and a leader of a gang of Pashtun boys, while Amir watches and does nothing to help. Amir then frames Hassan for stealing his watch and money, forcing Baba to fire Hassan and his father Ali. - Amir's escape from Afghanistan with Baba, after the Soviet invasion. They flee to Pakistan and then to America, where they settle in Fremont, California. Amir adapts to the new culture and pursues his passion for writing, while Baba struggles with nostalgia and illness. - Amir's marriage to Soraya, a fellow Afghan immigrant and the daughter of a former general. They have a loving but childless relationship, as Soraya suffers from infertility due to a previous abortion. - Amir's reunion with Rahim Khan, Baba's old friend and business partner, who summons him to Pakistan. Rahim Khan reveals that Hassan was actually Amir's half-brother, as Baba had an affair with Ali's wife. He also tells Amir that Hassan and his wife Farzana were killed by the Taliban, who took over their house in Kabul. He asks Amir to rescue Hassan's son Sohrab, who is in an orphanage in Kabul. - Amir's return to Afghanistan, where he faces the horrors of the Taliban rule. He finds Sohrab in the custody of Assef, who has become a Taliban official and a pedophile. Amir fights Assef and manages to free Sohrab, but suffers severe injuries. Sohrab saves Amir by shooting Assef in the eye with his slingshot. - Amir's recovery in Pakistan, where he bonds with Sohrab and decides to adopt him. However, he faces bureaucratic obstacles and legal complications that delay the process. He also learns that Sohrab has attempted suicide by cutting his wrists in the bathtub. - Amir's return to America with Sohrab, who is traumatized and mute. Amir tries to heal Sohrab's wounds and make him happy again. He takes him to a park where Afghan immigrants gather to fly kites. He runs a kite for Sohrab and tells him that he is his friend and his father. He asks Sohrab if he would like him to run another kite for him. Sohrab nods and gives a faint smile. The main characters in the novel are: - Amir: The protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is a sensitive, intelligent, and creative boy who loves reading and writing stories. He is also insecure, selfish, and cowardly. He suffers from guilt and shame for betraying Hassan and seeks redemption for his sins. - Hassan: The deuteragonist of the novel. He is Amir's best friend and half-brother. He is a loyal, brave, and selfless boy who loves flying kites and reading stories. He is also poor, illiterate, and discriminated against by the Pashtun majority. He is raped by Assef and later killed by the Taliban. - Baba: Amir's father and Hassan's biological father. He is a wealthy, respected, and generous man who owns a successful business and a lavish house in Kabul. He is also distant, demanding, and disappointed in Amir's lack of courage and masculinity. He hides his affair with Ali's wife and his paternity of Hassan from everyone. He dies of cancer in America. - Assef: The antagonist of the novel. He is a sadistic bully and a leader of a gang of Pashtun boys who terrorize other children. He is obsessed with Hitler and Nazism and believes in ethnic cleansing of Hazaras. He rapes Hassan and later becomes a Taliban official and a pedophile. He loses an eye after being shot by Sohrab. - Rahim Khan: Baba's old friend and business partner. He is a kind, wise, and supportive man who encourages Amir's writing talent and acts as his mentor. He reveals the truth about Hassan's parentage to Amir and asks him to rescue Sohrab from Kabul. - Soraya: Amir's wife and a fellow Afghan immigrant. She is a beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate woman who loves reading books ## Style and Structure The Kite Runner is written in a simple and clear prose that conveys the emotions and experiences of the narrator, Amir. Hosseini uses a first-person point of view that allows the reader to empathize with Amir's inner struggles and dilemmas. He also uses flashbacks, foreshadowing, symbolism, imagery, and irony to enhance the plot and the themes of the novel. For example, he uses the kite as a symbol of freedom, joy, friendship, and redemption throughout the novel. He also uses irony to contrast Amir's expectations and reality, such as when he discovers that Hassan is his half-brother, or when he meets Assef again in Kabul. The novel is organized into 25 chapters that are divided into three parts. The first part covers Amir's childhood in Kabul until 1975; the second part covers Amir's life in America from 1981 to 2001; the third part covers Amir's return to Afghanistan in 2001. The chapters vary in length and pace, depending on the intensity and significance of the events. The novel follows a chronological order, except for the first chapter, which serves as a prologue that introduces the main conflict and sets the tone for the rest of the story. The novel can be compared with other works by Hosseini or in the same genre. For instance, Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), also deals with Afghanistan's history and culture, but focuses on the lives of two women who suffer under the Taliban rule. Hosseini's third novel, And the Mountains Echoed (2013), also explores themes such as family, identity, and sacrifice, but spans over multiple generations and locations. The Kite Runner can also be compared with other novels that depict war-torn countries and their effects on people, such as The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005), which is set in Nazi Germany; Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006), which is set in Nigeria during the Biafran War; or The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997), which is set in India during the Kerala Communist Uprising. ## Themes and Messages The Kite Runner explores several themes and messages that resonate with readers across different cultures and backgrounds. Some of the major themes and messages are: - Friendship: The novel portrays the complex and dynamic nature of friendship, especially between Amir and Hassan. It shows how friendship can be based on love, loyalty, trust, respect, and fun, but also on envy, jealousy, betrayal, and guilt. It also shows how friendship can be tested by external factors such as social class, ethnicity, religion, politics, and violence. It also shows how friendship can be restored by forgiveness, repentance, and sacrifice. - Betrayal: The novel depicts various forms of betrayal that affect the characters' lives and relationships. It shows how betrayal can be motivated by fear, cowardice, selfishness, or ignorance. It also shows how betrayal can have devastating consequences for both the betrayer and the betrayed. It also shows how betrayal can be overcome by honesty, courage, generosity, or knowledge. - Guilt: The novel illustrates the powerful and lasting impact of guilt on one's conscience and actions. It shows how guilt can be caused by one's own wrongdoing or by one's failure to prevent or stop someone else's wrongdoing. It also shows how guilt can haunt one's memory and affect one's happiness and well-being. It also shows how guilt can be relieved by confession, - redemption, or atonement. It shows how redemption can be achieved by facing one's past, accepting one's responsibility, and doing good deeds. - Loyalty: The novel demonstrates the importance and value of loyalty in human relationships. It shows how loyalty can be expressed by standing up for one's friends, family, or country, even at the cost of one's own safety or happiness. It also shows how loyalty can be betrayed by lying, cheating, or abandoning one's friends, family, or country. It also shows how loyalty can be rewarded by gratitude, respect, or love. - Family: The novel explores the concept and meaning of family in different contexts and situations. It shows how family can be defined by blood, by marriage, by adoption, or by choice. It also shows how family can provide love, support, protection, and guidance, but also cause pain, conflict, resentment, and secrets. It also shows how family can influence one's identity, values, and decisions. - Identity: The novel examines the question of who one is and where one belongs. It shows how identity can be shaped by one's personal traits, talents, interests, and choices. It also shows how identity can be affected by one's social class, ethnicity, religion, and nationality. It also shows how identity can change over time and across different places. - Culture: The novel depicts the rich and diverse culture of Afghanistan, its history, traditions, customs, languages, arts, and sports. It shows how culture can be a source of pride, joy, and beauty, but also a target of oppression, violence, and destruction. It also shows how culture can be preserved, shared, and celebrated in different ways. The Kite Runner is a novel that offers many lessons and insights for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Some of the personal opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the novel are: - Strengths: The novel is a captivating and moving story that engages the reader's emotions and imagination. The novel is a realistic and authentic portrayal of Afghanistan and its people. The novel is a profound and complex exploration of human nature and morality. - Weaknesses: The novel is a melodramatic and predictable story that relies on coincidences and clichés. The novel is a biased and distorted representation of Afghanistan and its people. The novel is a simplistic and moralistic sermon that preaches rather than questions. ## Conclusion The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a novel that tells the story of Amir, a young boy from Kabul who grows up with his friend Hassan but betrays him in a moment of cowardice. The novel follows Amir's life as he tries to redeem himself for his sin by rescuing Hassan's son from the Taliban. The novel is set against the backdrop of Afghanistan's turbulent history from the 1970s to the 2000s. The novel is a well-written and well-researched work that introduces Afghan literature and culture to a global audience. The novel is also a powerful and poignant work that explores themes such as friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption, loyalty, family, identity, and culture. The novel is a well-written and well-researched work that introduces Afghan literature and culture to a global audience. The novel is also a powerful and poignant work that explores themes such as friendship, betrayal, guilt, redemption, loyalty, family, identity, and culture. The novel has received widespread acclaim from critics and readers alike, who praised its storytelling, emotional depth, historical accuracy, cultural authenticity, and moral complexity. However, it has also faced some controversy and criticism in Afghanistan, where some people objected to its portrayal of ethnic tensions, sexual violence, religious extremism, and political corruption. The Kite Runner is a novel that offers many lessons and insights for readers of all ages and backgrounds. It is a novel that challenges us to think about our own actions and choices, our own loyalties and betrayals, our own guilt and redemption. It is a novel that inspires us to appreciate the value of friendship, family, and culture. It is a novel that reminds us of the power of stories to heal, to connect, and to transform. ## FAQs - Q: What is the significance of the title The Kite Runner? - A: The title refers to the person who runs after the cut kites and tries to catch them before they fall to the ground. In Afghanistan, kite running is a popular sport and a symbol of freedom, joy, and friendship. In the novel, Hassan is a skilled kite runner who helps Amir win the kite tournament. However, Amir also associates kite running with his betrayal of Hassan. Later in the novel, Amir runs a kite for Sohrab as a way of redeeming himself and restoring their bond. - Q: Who is the narrator of The Kite Runner? - A: The narrator of The Kite Runner is Amir, who tells his story in the first-person point of view. He narrates his life from his childhood in Kabul to his adulthood in America. He also reflects on his past mistakes and regrets and how they have shaped his present and future. - Q: What are some of the symbols used in The Kite Runner? - A: Some of the symbols used in The Kite Runner are: - The kite: The kite represents freedom, joy, friendship, and redemption. It also represents Amir's relationship with Hassan and Sohrab. - The pomegranate tree: The pomegranate tree represents Amir and Hassan's friendship and innocence. It also represents Amir's guilt and anger after he betrays Hassan. - The lamb: The lamb represents Hassan's sacrifice and martyrdom. It also represents Amir's cowardice and selfishness. - The scar: The scar represents Amir's wound and pain. It also represents Amir's connection with Hassan and Baba. - Q: What are some of the conflicts in The Kite Runner? - A: Some of the conflicts in The Kite Runner are: - Man vs. man: Amir vs. Assef; Baba vs. Rahim Khan; Hassan vs. Assef; Sohrab vs. Assef - Man vs. self: Amir vs. his guilt; Baba vs. his secret; Hassan vs. his loyalty; Sohrab vs. his trauma - Man vs. society: Amir vs. Afghan society; Baba vs. Afghan society; Hassan vs. Afghan society; Sohrab vs. Afghan society - Man vs. nature: Amir vs. illness; Baba vs. cancer; Hassan vs. landmine; Sohrab vs. suicide - Q: What are some of the themes in The Kite Runner? - A: Some of the themes in The Kite Runner are: - Friendship: The novel portrays the complex and dynamic nature of friendship - Betrayal: The novel portrays the devastating effects of betrayal on human relationships and morality. It shows how betrayal can destroy trust, friendship, and love, and how it can lead to guilt, shame, and resentment. It also shows how betrayal can be motivated by fear, cowardice, selfishness, or ignorance. - Redemption: The novel depicts the possibility and necessity of redemption for one's sins and mistakes. It shows how redemption can be achieved by facing one's past, accepting one's responsibility, and doing good deeds. It also shows how redemption can restore hope, peace, and happiness. The Kite Runner is a novel that offers many lessons and insights for readers of all ages and backgrounds. It is a novel that challenges us to think about our own actions and choices, our own loyalties and betrayals, our own guilt and redemption. It is a novel that inspires us to appreciate the value of friendship, family, and culture. It is a novel that reminds us of the power of stories to heal, to connect, and to transform. ## This is the end of the article. I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new. Thank you for your attention and interest. 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Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner Download Book