The Kite Runner was actually assigned to me for a Literature class that I took my sophomore year in college. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to reading a 371-page novel at the end of the semester when I had four large papers and finals looming over me. I decided to read the first thirty pages so that I could pass the “reading quiz” (I know, that’s so lame) and then sell the book back to the bookstore. After fifteen minutes of reading, this plan was shot. I ended up staying up most of the night, devouring this book. Hosseini’s debut novel is so amazing that I literally could not put it down!
The Kite Runner is the story of two young boys growing up in Afghanistan. Amir is the son of a wealthy business man. His father is one of the richest merchants in Kabul and his mother, who died at childbirth, had royal blood. Amir is a Pashtun (Sunni). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hasssan is the son of Amir’s father’s servant. He is a Hazara, a Shi’a minority so looked down upon that they are barely even mentioned in textbooks. Although these boys come from completely different backgrounds, they are best friends (though Hassan also acts as a personal servant to Amir). Hosseini gives adequate background but the real story begins in the winter of 1975, before the Russian invasion. In fact, the entire novel surrounds an event that took place on the day of the annual kite-fighting tournament, a long-time winter tradition in Afghanistan. On this day, the lives of the boys changed forever, putting their friendship and characters to the test. The rest of the novel chronicles the next twenty-five years of the boys’ lives.
This is a story about love, friendship, betrayal and redemption. This is by far the most realistic portrayal of human nature that I have ever read and it left me absolutely breathless. In fact, just writing this review makes me want to read the book again. This was simply one of the most fabulous novels I have ever read. Although I was disturbed by some of the actions of the characters throughout the novel, it really spoke to me because this is truly how people are, at the core. Hosseini does such an amazing job of capturing the human spirit. Some of the issues tackled are hard to swallow but at the same time, this is real life. This was real for young men in 1975 Afghanistan. This was real for growing men in 1980’s Soviet occupied Afghanistan. This novel was so real, so poignant and so awe-inspiring. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini has written a touching yet utterly realistic novel. The Kite Runner is a masterpiece and a must-read!