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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Literary fiction

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

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Quick take

Friendship, brotherhood, loss, and loyalty in 1970s Afghanistan. Be prepared for an emotional, heartbreaking read.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad

    Sad

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International

    International

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Literary

    Literary

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

Synopsis

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir's choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

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The Kite Runner

ONE

December 2001

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.

One day last summer, my friend Rahim Khan called from Pakistan. He asked me to come see him. Standing in the kitchen with the receiver to my ear, I knew it wasn’t just Rahim Khan on the line. It was my past of unatoned sins. After I hung up, I went for a walk along Spreckels Lake on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park. The early-afternoon sun sparkled on the water where dozens of miniature boats sailed, propelled by a crisp breeze. Then I glanced up and saw a pair of kites, red with long blue tails, soaring in the sky. They danced high above the trees on the west end of the park, over the windmills, floating side by side like a pair of eyes looking down on San Francisco, the city I now call home. And suddenly Hassan’s voice whispered in my head: For you, a thousand times over. Hassan the harelipped kite runner.

I sat on a park bench near a willow tree. I thought about something Rahim Khan said just before he hung up, almost as an afterthought. There is a way to be good again. I looked up at those twin kites. I thought about Hassan. Thought about Baba. Ali. Kabul. I thought of the life I had lived until the winter of 1975 came along and changed everything. And made me what I am today.

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Member ratings (5,710)

  • Monika D.

    HILLSBOROUGH, NJ

    I’ve read this book before and was so excited when I saw it in BOTMs library! Hosseini draws you into Amir’s story and makes you feel every single emotion Amir is feeling. A true literary masterpiece!

  • Gina D.

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ

    Oh this book. My all time favorite! My heart never felt such deep emotion from a book as this did. I’ll never not tear up thinking about it. It taught me so much on what true friendship means. Amazing

  • Charlsey F.

    West Valley City, UT

    A new all time favorite. This story devastated me and simultaneously gave me so much hope. Beautiful story. Had the annoyance of my beautiful life not been a factor I’d have finished without stopping!

  • Ashley T.

    Ogden, UT

    I cried way too much in this book. The beginning was hard to get through and i had to take breaks, but once I made it past the beginning I couldn’t put it down. So heartbreaking but those are the best

  • Emily T.

    Siloam Springs, AR

    Heartwrenching. As an American from birth, it’s not often at all I give thought to the evils plaguing third world countries. I praise God for how blessed we are and pray for those who are suffering.

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