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The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Book Review and PDF)

Khaled Hosseini's narrative brilliance shines in unexpected ways with this masterpiece. It is quite difficult to believe this is a debut novel.


Amir lived with his father, Baba, in an affluent neighborhood in the northern part of Kabul, Afghanistan. As it was common among the Pashtuns, the family had servants of a lesser ethnic minority, Ali and his son, Hassan, who were Hazaras.

Hassan and Amir lost their mothers at birth under different circumstances and had to be breastfed by the same Hazara woman Baba hired. They shared a bond. Their friendship happened naturally but with a different outlook due to tribal segregation.

During that time, Afghanistan's king was overthrown by his cousin. This incident turned out to be the beginning of a series of events, which not only put an end to Amir and Hassan's friendship, but also led Amir and his father out of Afghanistan.

Although Amir and Baba toil to create a new life for themselves in the United States, the past is unable to stay buried. When it rears its ugly head, Amir is forced to return to his homeland to face the demons and decisions of his youth, with only a slim hope to make amends.  

The most remarkable thing about The Kite Runner, apart from its strong plot, is its depth. The characters are well-formed, unforgettable, and the emotional attachment to them is practically unavoidable. 

The representation of the protagonist's character was brilliant. No reader would like him, but his "nature" added to the overall depth of the story. How would anyone have built a strong emotional connection with characters like Hassan if not for him? And despite his flaws, one still gets to understand the emotions that trigger his choices and live his experiences with him.

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.

The vivid language instantly transports you into the world. Khaled Hosseini conjures Afghanistan with so much intimacy that you feel you have sauntered its streets and breathe its air. For the most part, he left nothing worth describing open to interpretation. However, he may have gone a little bit overboard with his strong use of words, especially when dealing with Hassan (and his family members). Like he was desperately appealing to the reader's sense of pity. But then, the severity of reality might have also been lessened to become more bearable for Hassan.

The use of flashbacks in the narrative generally added to the story's appeal. I doubt the book would have come out any better if a different narrative technique was employed. And combined with the mastery of language, the story came out with such gripping effect that you cannot just not read the next word because the previous one has put you on edge already. This feeling particularly gained height during the kite run that shattered Hassan and Amir's lives. Oh, I could not hold back my tears at this point. Normally, when a story gets really sad, a reader could always be consoled by the fact that this is, after all, fiction. I doubt anyone will find that solace here.

'For you, a thousand times over!' he said. Then he smiled his Hassan smile and disappeared around the corner.

The Kite Runner encompasses the hardship suffered by people, families during the Soviet and the Taliban's occupations of Afghanistan. It is a story of endless love, betrayal, hope, and all diminutive things you can relate with in a normal life setting. Why, then, won't I recommend it to everyone? 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


Genre: Fiction
Published: 2003
Publisher: Riverhead Books
ISBN: 1594480001
Awards: Penguin/Orange Readers' Group Prize 2006 and 2007.


Thank you for reading. Please leave your comments.

  1. Your reviews always make me feel motivated to read books even when I'm being extremely lazy. Good job Mr. Awesome lool.

    1. I'm glad my reviews have that effect on you. Mr. Awesome? I feel like James Bond already. Hehe

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