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The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

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Author: Khaled Hosseini / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 September 2011 / Genre: Graphic Novels / Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC / Title: The Kite Runner / ISBN 13: 9781408815250 / ISBN 10: 1408815250

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      03.09.2012 00:31
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      A definite read for any casual or hardcore reader.

      For my first year of my English Language and Literature A level (I am now in my 2nd year), it was required for me to read The Kite Runner as part of my exam was based upon the book. My initial thoughts I have to say were not great. Im a older teenager more interested in action and fantasy, not drama and relationships etc etc. But to my surprise, when I first sat down to read the book, from the first chapter, I was hooked.

      The book really does just have that effect on you, it really is one of them books you cant put down. Set In Afghanstan, the book focuses on the character of Amir who from what you discover in the first chapter has done something terribly wrong in his past and wishes to make things right. What is noticeable is the way the book is structured. Everything that occurs in the book has already happened; the book is written in 1st person from Amirs point of view aside from one or two chapters. I think thats just one of the many things so great. Khaled Hosseini really gives his character of Amir a real distinctive voice and its truely brillaint to see how Amir changes and grows as the book progresses.

      As mentioned, Im a big action and fantasy fan, but honestly The Kite Runner is throughly entertaining. The amount of emotion that the book can actually draw out of you is shocking, as even I myself found my jaw dropping and my gut turning in certain points of the book just to how shocking they actually are. When I say shocking though, I dont mean in a exicting way, I mean shock as in general shock. The Kite Runner deals with some very controversial and mature themes, and I was quite surprised it was a book I was actually studying in class at the age of 16. Therfore the book is generally for a older audience, but if your mature and want a superb read, then The Kite Runner is still really a brillaint book.

      I really cant reccomend this book enough, and with my endless months of studying the book inside out for my English exam as well, I can truely say from knowledge and experience just how clever, intrigueing, emotional and amazing The Kite Runner is. A definite read no matter what genre or area of book your interested in.

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      27.07.2012 23:58
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      Excellent book set in Afghanistan

      I only picked up this book in the library as I had recorded the film on TV a few days previously which made me think I would like to read it before watching the film. I was extremely impressed with the book although I was quite disappointed in the film and felt it lacked a lot of the emotion and detail which was in the book.

      Published: 2003 by Riverhead Books
      Cost: Available new on Amazon including delivery for £5.59

      Pages: 324
      The Author: Khaled Hosseini was born in Afghanistan and moved to America where he studied medicine, during his studies he wrote this which was his first novel, he then went on to write A Thousand Splendid Suns which is also very good.

      The Storyline:
      This is a book full of interesting twists and turns and I shall try to give a brief outline without giving too much away.
      The main character is Amir who lives with his father, his mother died during childbirth. They have plenty of money and have a servant who lives on their land with his son Hassan. The story revolves around the friendship between these two children and the difficulties they encounter living through a period of war in Afghanistan.

      It is heartbreaking at times and heart warming at times, the title comes from their favourite hobby kite running. The whole town gets together to take part in flying the kites, on person (Amir) flies the kits and lets go and the other (Hassan) will retrieve the kite. Hassan runs for the kite and will do anything to please his best friend.
      Amir and Hazara have a close relationship although being poor, Hassan is often bullied and when he chases the kite on competition day he is subjected to violence and sexual abuse and Amir has choices to make whether to defend his friend or stand and watch his suffering.
      Not long after this the area is being taken over by the Soviet Union and Amir and his father escape and move to America where they no longer live the life of luxury they were used to. They had to start from scratch building a life for themselves, Amir grows up and meets a girl and falls in love but never forgets his best friend and always wonders what happened to his best friend and his father after they left.

      Years later a friend of his fathers whom he was very close to, Rahim Khan, contacts Amir to ask him to visit him in Pakistan as he is dying and would like to see him. The book follows Amir's return to Afghanistan where bad memories haunt him and Rahim Khan lets Amir know what became of his long lost friend and his father.
      He then goes on to meet some family he didn't know he had before deciding whether to return to America and never return to his birth country and whether to return or with someone.

      Overall
      I found the book a little slow to start off with but I have this problem with many books, it may not be the book that is the problem but more due to my impatience.
      I think the length of the book was perfect,once the story kicked in I couldn't put it down.
      At first I struggled a little bit with the foreign names of people and places but I soon got used to it. I found the book sad and disturbing in places but a very good story and I couldn't wait to watch the film afterwards.
      I would definitely recommend this book. Due to it's difficulty, language and some sexually explicit parts it isn't one i would recommend for children.

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        17.03.2012 12:14
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        An utterly amazing novel, 5 stars! x

        At the beginning of this year, I enrolled in an A level English literature class and was told this was the novel we were going to be studying ( among others ). Now, I'm not really big on reading unless there is a cheesy vampire/ware wolf love story involved ( twilight ;P ) but when I forced myself to sit down and read this book I was surprised by how gripping it was... page after page I couldn't set it down, and when I wasn't reading I was thinking about what will happen next, how will the characters' respond?
        Eventually, the book and me were inseparable, I took it everywhere with me and I don't think it'd be too dramatic to say a little bond was formed :)

        The book contains 25 chapters, in 324 pages and took me about four days to read; but it's safe to say the ending is worth the wait- and Hosseini's craft as a writer surely deserves praise.
        Set in Afghanistan, the book begins with some subtle signifiers that there is a flaw in the relationship of main character and narrator Amir, and his father Baba. Amir has a close relationship with his Hazara servant Hassan, whom is treated no different to Amir by his father. The book focuses a lot on caste segregation in Afghanistan, and also the types of culture experienced by the characters- it was interesting for me as a reader to see how life changed for the characters, and how they were unable to live in their district anymore and follow their slow journey to America.

        Amir comes across as quite the protagonist in the Kite runner, as it is written in the first person narrator we get to see his thoughts and feelings and perhaps on how this causes a bias of opinion on some of the other characters.
        I don't want to spoil things too much for those of you willing to read the book- so I'll just state that there is a problem which the characters ( especially Amir ) has to overcome, but living in America makes it hard for him to make things right and clear his conscience for his past mistakes...He journeys to Pakistan to meet an old friend ( Rahim Khan )- to discuss how to sort these problems and eventually he does, to an extent.

        I think the main thing you need to know when thinking about buying this book is that is does have devastating points, but you take away so much from the story- how to keep hold of your relationship and not take people for granted, and most importantly to protect those whom are close to you, as you never know one day you might not have the chance to apologize for your bad choices...

        Overall, I can't find a flaw with this novel, as it encapsulated me the entire journey- gripped from beginning to end and if you are like me, with a soft spot for your family then read this book as I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!

        I bought my copy from WHSMITH in London, and it cost me just £7.99. And, for the amount I have to learn about this book and also the amount I enjoyed it is a small price to pay! 5 dooyoo stars for this book!
        Ps... hope I haven't given too much away! love Pinky xx

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          23.06.2011 15:14
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          too good to miss

          Wow, what a read! I love this book. Set in Afghanistan, we are taken on a journey with our young protagonist that starts when he is a small boy growing up and ends with him decades later and in an entirely different continent!

          One of the best things about it is the little hints Hosseini gives us all through the book that we'll find more out about a certain incident, character or idea later on in the book. He writes thing like 'it was to be the last time I saw his face until twenty two years later in a photograph' instantly setting the reader's mind alight with questions.

          The descriptions of the characters' childhod in Afghanistan are of a dusty but bright and exotic country, making the latter half of the book set partly in modern day Afghanistan all the more heartbreaking. Full of drama, emotion, tradgedy but ultimately an uplifting story about friendship, The Kite Runner is a book too good to miss.

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            22.04.2011 18:36
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            One book that must be read before you die!

            I borrowed this book from my friend, having heard many positive reviews about it, and it is certainly not a disappointment! 'The Kite Runner' tells the tale of Amir, whose best friend growing up is Hassan. However, when something awful happens to Hassan, and Amir does nothing to intervene, Amir has to live with his guilt. After a further betrayal, this novel explores Amir's journey to redeem himself and overcome his selfishness and cowardice. Along with Amir's own journey, Hosseini gives the reader a glimpse into the horrendous ordeals Afghanistan as a country has to endure, and as someone who knew little about the conflicts that had been endured, it was an eye opener. This is a book that is certainly a page turner, and I cannot deny that I was shocked on more than one occasion. Hosseini writes so engagingly, and manages to absorb, elate and horrify the reader throughout the novel. Without a doubt, this is certainly one of the best novels I have read in some time.

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              22.12.2010 18:13
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              A must read for everyone.

              There are few books that I have read that have not only gripped me from beginning to end but whose contents have resonated with me long after I put the book down. I read this book whilst sunbathing by a hotel pool in Hawaii when a fellow guest saw the need to come up to me to let me now that she had read this book while lying on a beach in Costa Rica - and had ended up sobbing on the beach. "hmmmm sure" I thought.......and then a few hours later I was lying by the same pool with tears unashamedly and unreservedly pouring down my face! 

              While it is true that this story is harrowing, it is also beautifully told and has the themes of love, friendship, family, forgiveness and redemption running throughout which ultimately turn this book from being a depresing tragedy into the celebration of a mans life, with all of the recantations of the human triumphs and frailties of a mans life with evidence of the triumph of the human spirit and the frailty of our own humanity which we can all identify with. 

              The book follows Amir from childhood into middle age. Born in Afghanistan to a rich and respectable Afghan family, he is befriended by Hassan, the son of a servant who works for Amir's father. Hassan and Amir are inseparable - forming a bond akin more of family than to friendship. Ali (Hamssan's father) and Baba were bought up together, and their relationship means that the two boys were bound together from birth, even sharing the same breast of the women who was employed to feed them. Both boys are motherless, and together both fathers and sons share a family type existence, despite differences in race, class and caste.

              Amir is not perfect and their are times during their childhood where he uses his status to humiliate and control Hassan in ways that he later comes to regret. Kids can be cruel. Hassan, on the other hand, is loyal, gentle, trusting.....and many a time he sticks up for Amir, ultimately to his own downfall. Despite their differences, the boys remain great friends........until Amir witnesses something which changes everything. And so the roller coaster of emotions begins.

              I don't want to give anything away in the plot line and so I don't want to say any more about the contact of the story itself. But the language used, the imagery, the way that the reader is drawn into the story, is something rare and noteworthy. Some of the details given are shocking...and on more than one occasion I found myself with my hand over my mouth saying "oh no!" - but this is a story based in a troubled country at a troubled time. But it is not a story without humor, compassion or hope.......it has all of those facets in abundance and it is somewhat reassuring that no matter how bad things get, there is always someone there that is going to be willing to lend a helping hand and trust in the human spirit. 

              I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It will not only give you an insight into these people's lives, but it will al.so give you an insight into a culture which many of us know little about. Whatever your thoughts on this book, I am completely certain that you will have an opinion and it's not something you will forget once the last page has been closed.   

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                10.04.2010 12:00
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                An fantastic, unforgettable story about a young boy and his struggle through life to find redemption

                'The Kite Runner' is a thought-provoking story which does not really fit into any genre, but has the overriding themes of redemption, friendship, and how someone's childhood can shape their future.

                It tells the story of Amir, a young boy living in Afghanistan, who witnesses a horrific incident involving his friend and servant, Hassan. Be it through fear, cowardice or a desire for love and attention from his father, Amir betrays Hassan and spends the rest of his life regretting it. After immigrating to America as a young man where he makes a new life for himself, Amir makes one final trip back to Afghanistan to try and right the wrongs of his past. But does he ever fully gain redemption...?

                If you're looking for a fun, light-hearted book this wouldn't be one for you. Even Amir himself admits that 'If someone were to ask me today whether the story of Hassan, Sohrab and me ends with happiness, I wouldn't know what to say'. The book pushes the boundaries of what we see as acceptable, as it deals with some very sensitive issues such as sexual abuse, children's sexuality, and war and conflict. It doesn't make light reading, but as a lot of it is written from the young Amir's perspective, the difficulties which he faces do not feel too 'real' for the reader.

                The book is set over four decades, during the time of both the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the British and American war with Afghanistan. However, these are only touched upon briefly, as the focus of 'The Kite Runner' is not on war itself, but rather the inner conflict one feels when trying to distinguish between doing what it right and wrong. Each of the main characters experiences some kind of inner conflict, which really reflects how war and conflict can affect every single one of us.

                Whether you do or don't enjoy reading 'The Kite Runner', I strongly recommend you read it several times again. There are so many things you could pick up on, which you only notice when you are reading for the second, third, fourth time round. There are many parallels between characters, and the author's use of metaphors and imagery is extensive, so some of the things you may not have really picked up on make much more sense the next time you read the book. This is definitely one of those books where you notice something new every time you read it - having studied it in English Literature at A Level you'd think I'd be sick of it by now, but no, each time I read it I end up loving it a little bit more.

                I will admit that some of the parallels between the characters, or events later on in the book, seem a little too coincidental and obvious. It is at those points where you are jolted back to the fact that you are reading a work of fiction, and the things you are reading are not real life. Perhaps if Hosseini had been less obvious, but had used the skill of including subtle metaphors and implying certain things which he so clearly has, the reader would have been made to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgements instead.

                Nevertheless, if you're prepared to dive into something new and unprecedented, you won't be disappointed by 'The Kite Runner'. As I've said before, it's not fun, light reading, but it will definitely leave you thinking afterwards, and questioning your own morality. Once you've started you won't be able to put it down, so I thoroughly recommend curling up on the sofa one lazy Sunday and reading it!

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                  04.04.2010 15:45
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                  Great to read!

                  This book does not lack emotions but instead it tells a tale that uses forshadowiing a lot in the novel. It portrays the cowardice and the fight for affection that amir (the main character) shows. The main themes within the book are atonement, cowardice and war and conflict. This novel will enhance your previous beliefs about the situation in afghanistan, while tieing it in with the life of amir. This novel is best read once, becuase after a second read you begin to see too much forshadowing which ruins your previous ignorance to events which happen later in the novel. This is a good first novel from Hosseini but in parts it appears to slightly badly written but the plot of the story makes up for these errors. I would advice to read the book before the film, because the film does not do the book justice or the plot. This book shows human error and corruption while making it readable by the masses and enjoyed by the masses. This book is not a holiday read though, it is too emotional.

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                    31.03.2010 21:56
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                    A book well-worth reading, but not the literary masterpiece it is hyped up to be.

                    Perusing the DooYoo archives, I'm not entirely surprised that members seem to have almost unanimously opted to give 'The Kite Runner' four or five stars. Khaled Hosseini's 2003 novel is superficially everything you'd want in a book. It is a modern day epic in that the events of the novel cross both time and continents. The storylines weave between each other with great intricacy and momentum, with Hosseini employing every writing tactic to keep the reader turning those pages. To Hosseini's credit, he is one of the rare storytellers who are equally accessible to children as adults. However (and perhaps now is the time to mention that this is a book which I am studying as part of my A-Level English course), a book which I enjoyed on first reading, has since become something I am increasingly less keen on. In fact, the more I study the book, the more I realise that Hosseini is not the linguistic master that some have made him out to be.

                    For those unfamiliar with the novel, the book has a fantastic plot which acts as a strong platform upon which to establish conflict on both a personal and political level. It tells the story of Amir, a young Pashtun boy living in Kabul, who has befriended Hassan - the son of his Father's Hazara servant. The two grew up almost as brothers - utterly inseparable until one cataclysmic event on the day of their kite running tournament changes everything. An act of betrayal tears the two apart, and coincides with a series of tumultuous political events in their native Afghanistan (such as the Russian invasion, and the fall of the Monarchy - and later, the rise of the Taliban). Amir and his father flee the country to start a new life in America, leaving Hassan and his father behind. Years pass, and an adult Amir, who has spent his whole life running from the events of that single day in his childhood is faced with the news that he has dreaded all his life - he must return to Afghanistan to right the wrongs of his past, and find the one thing that America cannot grant him. Redemption.

                    Set in Afghanistan, the story was immediately compelling to me (perhaps for the wrong reasons) in that I am not particularly well-versed with the country and its background, meaning that the snapshots of Afghan culture and history were fascinating to me. The social hierarchy in place in the country is intriguing, and resembles the caste system formerly found in India. The idea that Pashtuns are seen as better than Hazaras is a concept which feels rather alien (I hope) to British readers. The simmering racial tension, does beg the question, although not ever explicitly asked, did Amir betray his friend because he has been pre-conditioned by society to think that his needs always take precedence of that of a Hazara's?

                    The insight into the madness but utter terror of the Taliban regime which Amir finds on returning to Afghanistan is absolutely enthralling. I must admit, I'm unaware of how true-a representation of the Taliban Hosseini has painted, but it's not inconceivable that this is an accurate portrayal. Their illogical and brutal ways have really helped me understand why it is so vital to remove them from power, and has complimented my knowledge of current affairs. However, as with the rest of the political and historical references in the novel - the description and insight into them are sporadic enough to not feel overwhelming or like a polemic to a western reader.

                    The key theme of the book is redemption, and while some of the references to it in the opening of the novel ("There is a way to be good again") seem a little too saccharine for my tastes, it's a viable theme to base a novel around. There is a wonderful idea that is implicitly demonstrated by many of the characters [Amir, Baba (his father), Soraya (Hassan's Mother)], that in order to become someone better, you must first lose your identity and have all your core values demolished. Only then, when you are left with nothing, are you able to consider what really matters and allow reconstruction to begin. There are some parallels at times with Afghanistan's political situation in this sense. By the end of the novel (I'll leave it to you to decide if this a good thing or not) there is definitely a sense of resolution and as if the character has been redeemed - a perfect, moral ending. Some have criticised the neatness of the conclusion, in that it merely doesn't represent real life - and it certainly doesn't represent the kind of luck the people of Afghanistan have. I'm undecided about this point and I suppose it largely comes to down to how cynical the reader is.

                    Although, this does lead me to my first criticism - Amir. The main character who Hosseini writes using the first person narrative, is at times, incredibly unlikeable. Defenders of the book would say that he is written with flaws in order to seem like a well-rounded, profoundly human character, but given my criticism of Hosseini's characterisation of Hassan, I doubt this is the case. The character of Amir is utterly cowardly, and particularly as a child, I disliked him immensely - his maltreatment of his unfailingly loyal friend, Hassan, frustrated me indescribably. I can understand completely that in order for redemption to occur, he must have flaws to begin with. However, even as an adult, his tendency to throw tantrum, be craven and act selfishly, doesn't command my admiration or affection.

                    And his loyal friend, Hassan. He is quite simply the most utterly unrealistic character I have ever read. He is so flimsy and two-dimensional, it is beyond belief. The credibility of the story, I would say, is harmed in that I have never read a book which lionises someone so much. As an A-level English literature class, we have picked the character apart and could not find a single flaw in him. He is so unfailingly loyal, so incredibly insightful and Hosseini's description of him is almost a caricature of saintly goodness. It frustrates me immeasurably, in that I can't help but feel he is not a well-crafted or accurate representation of a human being. His utter loyalty to a character who treats him with such contempt, is infuriating at times. You feel like yelling "Grow a spine!" at the book. However, again, I'd like to reiterate the fact that this is probably over analysis from an English student talking - and as a casual reader, who may only ever read 'The Kite Runner' once, these inconsistencies probably won't appear even appear on your radar.

                    Lastly, my pet-peeve is Hosseini's writing style. Like with my character criticisms, on the surface, there appears to be a pretty flawless command of language and the narrative art. However, his writing to me is far too rich in imagery and overtly attempts to create an ominous mood. Subtlety in this regard, isn't Hosseini's strongest point. With regards to the latter, it appears that Hosseini is intent on making the book a page-turner - not realising that the plot is compelling enough, without having to resort to cringe-inducing lines such as "he smiled. Which was ironic. Because that would be the winter Hassan stopped smiling."

                    Besides, comments like this, there is also far too much foreshadowing in the first half of the novel. It appears that every comment, every object ends up becoming a recurring motif or become vital to the plot later on, so much so, that this plot device that is so effective when used sporadically, just becomes tired and predictable - again, making for an entertaining but ultimately, unrealistic story (which is important, since most reviewers seem to lavish praise on how Hosseini has crafted such a "wonderfully human tale.")

                    The book is well-worth reading. Like I said, initially, I enjoyed it, but literary analysis has slowly ebbed away at my praise for the book, as I've realised more and more of its flaws. For me, it is a book worthy of the W H Smith best-seller list as opposed to any countdown of great literature. If you like the lashings of emotion which come with a story about brotherhood and redemption, then you'll enjoy this book. However, if characterisation or subtlety are important to you, then don't raise your expectations too high, as you may find yourself more than a little disappointed.

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                      01.02.2010 16:28
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                      A masterpiece

                      ** Plot **

                      The Kite Runner is narrated by a fictional Afghan boy named Amir and tells the story of his childhood and young adulthood in the 1970s and 1980s, set against the backdrop of political and social upheaval in Afghanistan and, later on, his new life in America.

                      Amir's early childhood is not exactly idyllic, but he does start off fairly content and comfortable. His father, Baba, is a well-known businessman and the family lives with their servant Ali and his son Hassan in a pleasant, upmarket home designed by Baba himself, situated in a well-to-do suburb of Kabul. Amir and Hassan are close in age and share a deep friendship despite their unequal social status. In fact, the kind Baba treats Hassan almost like a member of the family, and they all enjoy a good life for several years.

                      However, tensions start to come to the fore as time goes on. Amir's mother, a scholar of poetry, died when he was a baby and Amir seems to have inherited her love of language and her imagination. With little outside help he develops into a talented storyteller and writer. This does not find favour with Baba, however, who values physical prowess over artistic talent, and Amir feels that he is a disappointment as a son. He decides that the best way to secure Baba's admiration is to win the annual Kabul kite-flying contest, a popular festival in which kite-fliers battle to cut the strings of their competitors' kites while keeping their own kite up in the sky as long as possible. But the biggest accolade goes to the team that not only wins the competition, but also manages to get hold of the best kites that have been cut down - this involves chasing the falling kites through the city's streets until they land.

                      Amir and Hassan enter the competition together, with Hassan, ever the supportive friend, agreeing to help Amir by acting as a 'kite runner' while Amir tries to keep his kite in the sky as long as possible. However, the competition ends in tragedy when Hassan gets into trouble and Amir chooses victory over loyalty to his companion.

                      This kicks off a chain of events that, exacerbated by the worsening political situation in Afghanistan, change the lives of the boys and their fathers beyond recognition. It is not until he is an adult and living in the USA that the guilt-ridden Amir finally takes steps towards redemption and attempts to make up for what he did all those years ago. This requires him to return to Kabul, which is now under the power of the Taliban, to come to terms with some shocking family secrets, and to put his own life on the line to save another.


                      ** My opinion **

                      I found this to be a very powerful and moving story that stuck in my mind for a long time after I'd read it. It is all the more painful because the author stresses from the beginning that something terrible is going to happen to Hassan - we just don't know what, and when it finally does happen it is not a release from the tension, but rather just the start of a series of horrific experiences.

                      The novel is action-packed, with the plot moving between Afghanistan, Pakistan and America, and across three decades. As if the war and fighting in Afghanistan were not bad enough, the reader is then taken through a hair-raising escape from Afghanistan across the border to Pakistan, and introduced to the situation that political asylum-seekers face when trying to re-establish their lives in a new country (the US in this instance) and the myriad of problems that they encounter. The end of the novel then contrasts Amir's new life in America with what has happened to his homeland and those people - former friends and neighbours - who weren't so lucky and have had to stay in a country where terror now reigns.

                      I found the characterisation convincing on the whole. I read one review that complained of the 'weaselly characters' and this is true to an extent - Amir comes across as cold and cowardly after his betrayal of Hassan, and his father too has his faults and is never entirely honest with his son. Even Baba's best friend, who is like a godfather figure to Amir, goes along with the lies and is unsympathetic at times. But there are also some essentially 'good' characters, such as Hassan and his father and the woman Amir goes on to marry, though they too are not always all they are made out to be. In general, I found I was able to identify with the characters, and while their actions sometimes made me despair, they didn't prevent me from enjoying the book.

                      One of the most enjoyable and edifying aspects for me is the author's incorporation of local language, traditions and history into the novel. I felt that his descriptions really brought the sights, sounds and smells of Kabul to life, and added a great richness to the story. As someone who is interested in historical linguistics (the history and development of languages), I particularly liked the fact that the novel was dotted with Persian words and turns of phrase - some of which I recognised (e.g. 'tandoori', which means oven, and 'naan', which means bread) .

                      There is a great deal of quite graphic violence in this novel, but I didn't feel at any point that it was too much or exaggerated (though I probably wouldn't let youngsters read it). If anything, it was the uncomplaining suffering of some of the characters and the poignancy of their changed lives that upset me more than the violent scenes. One of the saddest parts for me was when Amir returns to Kabul after a long absence and we see that the city of his childhood no longer exists.

                      In conclusion, this is a masterful account of how one mistake on a personal level can change so many people's lives for the worse, and also how a once-great country can be destroyed by political mistakes. This is a novel of extreme beauty in the way is written and its characters' display of dignity in suffering, but its overall tone is tragic. It left me thinking that Afghanistan is, in a way, like a beautiful kite that has been cut down and chased. For all its local colour and attempts at redemption, what the novel leaves us with is the image of a broken country and a broken people.

                      ** This review also appears on ciao.co.uk under the same user name **

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                        23.01.2010 17:08
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                        A moving story of friendship and family, set within the conflict of Afghanistan

                        My bestfriend lent me the Kite Runner because she really enjoyed it. It was very moving and well written.

                        The book is set in the 1970s in Afghanistan. A 12 year old boy, Amir is bought up with his friend Hassan. Amir has a wealthy background but struggles with his relationship with his father, and Hassan is from a poorer background but bonds well with the Father.

                        Amir witnesses a horendous act on Hassan and stands by instead of helping his friend, which he regrets for the rest of his life.

                        There is a good twist in the book and I could not put it down. It was emotional but also interesting to learn about living in Afghanistan at that time. I think we all take for granted living in a country with no war or conflict. The book also deals with the real qualities of childhood and friendship.

                        The book follows Amir's life, when he flees to America with his Father.

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                          18.01.2010 01:03
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                          This is a book everyone should read. It's beautifully written.

                          This book is one that is always talked about at literary groups, and I was eager to see how it had become such a firm favourite. The storyline is very unique, featuring an illiterate Afghan child with the ability to guess exactly where a 'downed' kite will land. This introduction is written beautifully, and I was already glad that I'd bought this book!

                          Amir, the narrator, is best friends with Hassan. The strange thing about their friendship is that Amir is the descendant of a rich and prestigious family, whereas Hassan is the son of a slave. In a time where class is everything, their friendship really is touching, and the boys do everything together.

                          Until Hassan gets attacked and raped when carrying out a task for Amir. Amir witnesses the attack, but doesn't help, and the two boys friendships shatter. Throughout the book, Hosseini shows how the incident leaves emotional scars on both the boys, and despite being such a sensitive topic, it is well written and shows a realistic picture of Afghanistan at the time.

                          The book also describes the Russian invasion, betrayal and slavery, and at one point or another makes you feel every emotion possible. The middle of the book did go slightly flat, and the ending does involve slightly more coincidence then is believable, but the book really is amazing.

                          I reread this recently, after discovering that it is to be made into a film. The newsreport that I read was fairly old, so I'm not sure if it already has been, or if the project was cancelled, but it caused me to read the book again. Second time round, it is just as full of emotion. A truly excellent book.

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                            07.01.2010 09:21
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                            A must read

                            My boyfriends parents lent me this book some time ago to read on the train. I had heard that it was a best seller but the blurb on the back didn't really capture my interest. I have to admit it took me a while to get into but my message to everyone is perservere! I really wasn't expecting it to be so powerful and beautiful.

                            It is a very touching story of two friends and how they relationship changed forever after a fateful event. I don't think I have ever cried so much! It is certainly a book that you have to sit back and reflect on once you have finished.

                            In addition to the great plot, I found the historical context very inetresting. It gave a real insight in to culture in Afganistan and the country's difficult history. With the current conflict in Afganistan is was a helpful reminder that the people aren't that much different from us.

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                              05.11.2009 18:39
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                              buy this now...

                              Book Itself...

                              As you can see the book has the main character pictured on the font. It is often used as a text for a level English literature, but a great read for anyone that loves a bit of history, Afghanistan, kite running or fiction!
                              The Plot...

                              I will try not to give too much away, the story involves a twelve year old boy named Amir who fights for acceptance from his father and is desperate to become noticed.

                              When he wins a kite fighting tournament in the local city of Kabul, it becomes the making of a new character. The servant named Hassan who is one of the opposing religions shamefully named Hazara's, was very close to Amir and acted like a brother towards him, until the day when Hassan unexpectedly had to move away...

                              The Russians then invade Pakistan and Amir and his father flee to America but with the guilt that holds against him, Amir feels he must return to Afghanistan to redeem his friendship...

                              The Characters....

                              Amir- son of Baba
                              Hassan- servant at Amir and Baba's home
                              Ali- Also a servant
                              Assef-nearby troublemaker
                              Soraya- Amir's Husband

                              Read the book if you are interested, it is a great read an you will not be able to put this book down!

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                              27.10.2009 23:41
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                              If your in need of a good read, this book just may be the book for you.

                              The Kite runner - Khaled Hosseini's

                              The kite runner is a sensational read. Had l not had this book bought for my birthday, l would never have read this book. In reading this book it has opened my eyes and quite possibly broadened my scope of reading material.

                              This is the first novel, written by Khaled Hosseini who was born in Afghanistan, and sought political asylum in the USA with his family in the 1980's. The author has used his knowledge and experience to write this book and in doing so, much of the story feels very real indeed.

                              The story is fiction. At first l was worried the book might be too political for me to enjoy. How wrong could l be. Whilst the book covers some very complex issues, the story is less about the circumstances and more about the impact it has on the lead characters, and the relationships between the characters.

                              When l received this book as a gift, ld heard the title before. Id heard the title because it has been made into a film, which l havent yet seen. I didn't know a huge amount about the story line, but l decided then and there that l would read the book and then watch the film. A friend had told me how good the film was, so l just hoped the book would be as good.


                              The Plot
                              *******

                              The plot is simply mind blowing, it really is, it covers so much in such a small book. Having said that, the book isn't particularly small in size, but the events that happen within the book could easily be contained within a much bigger read lm sure.

                              The story follows the childhood of a young boy by the name of Amir living in Kabul. Amir lives with his wealthy father, after his mother died after childbirth, and they live on a big estate, with their servant ( a friend of the family) and the servants son Hassan.

                              Amir and Hassan grow up almost as brothers but never on equal terms. Hassan is a Hazara and lives a very different world, not the life of luxury that Amir experiences. Hassan can never receive the respect that Amir gains. But together they play and grow, share a happy childhood and a special bond, with Hassan always looking up to Amir and Amir always wishing he was a bit more like Hassan.

                              Amir is jealous of the relationship between Hassan and his father. A jealousy that seems to put great tension on the relationship Amir has with his father.

                              Things go wrong one fateful day, and the idyllic relationship between the two boys goes dreadfully wrong. After the events of that day things change forever.
                              Can Amir ever leave his past behind? Tortured by that dreadful day, the truth tears Amir apart, but there is no time for pitying oneself, the Russians invade, and Amir and his father flee to America. But Amir is haunted by his past, and cannot seem to escape the life he left behind.

                              Betrayal, lies, love, war, suffering, friendship and redemption are the key themes within this book. Any reader would find it very difficult not to shed a tear.
                              The emotion l felt when reading this book was immense.
                              Of course the story does not end there, but l will not divulge any more information. You will just have to read it and find out for yourself.

                              At the beginning of the book l admit l was unsure if it would be a book for me, but then l got hooked. So l suggest if your not sure at first keep reading.
                              I was soon gripped by the powerful story-line, the depth of the story and the way its written, getting a sense of life in Afghanistan.

                              On occassions l felt like l wanted to know more, that some of the issues were not given quite as much time as l felt they needed. On the whole I would say the book is written very well, and their were several points in the book that left me guessing what happens next.

                              I think over recent years western society has become rather interested and intrigued into life in Afghanistan, and l think, this book helps to give us the opportunity to understand their culture and customs.

                              This is a book l shall not be throwing away, it's a book that l expect will sit on my shelf for quite a while. I could not part with this book. Its inspiring and without a doubt it has hit a chord within me, it has touched my life and just changed my perspective a little.

                              If you are someone who gets very upset, then it might be best you avoid this book. It is very powerful. The book is generally pretty easy to read, although there are a few bits refering to customs and war etc, that l wasn't always hugely familiar with.
                              However the more you read the more it all seems to make sense.

                              I cannot recommend this book enough, however this is not a light hearted read, so a word of caution to younger readers and those easily upset.

                              *I would think that you would be able to buy this book from all good book stores.

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