The Kite Runner has been considered a classic in historical fiction and it depicts a moving story of Amir who was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan prior to the war. It is a story of redemption and will leave you filled with hope in the midst of harsh realities and drama set mostly at the backdrop of Afghanistan in times of peace and in the midst of turmoil.
Goodreads Blurb of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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.
A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
Book Review of The Kite Runner by Book Estuary
The Kite Runner Main Characters
Amir – He is the main protagonist and is the one who narrates his story in the book.
Hassan – He grew up together with Amir and was treated like a son by Baba. He was introduced as the son of Ali.
Ali – He is Hassan’s father and servant in Amir’s house.
Baba – He is Amir’s father.
Rahim Khan – He is Baba’s friend.
Assef – Amir and Hassan’s nemesis.
Sohrab – He is Hassan’s son.
The setting is in Kabul, Afghanistan prior to 1975 and in 2001. There are some events set in Pakistan and California as well.
I choose to skip giving a summary here of the book to avoid spoilers however I made some commentaries below that may contain spoilers.
Book Review of The Kite Runner
I must agree with most readers of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini that it is a well-written literary piece. It is a simple yet meaningful story that revolves around less than 10 main characters with lessons on loyalty, friendship, family relations, and atonement. What I find new in this book is that it let me get a glimpse of Afghanistan’s culture prior to the war. The description of Afghanistan after the Taliban invasion is also a reality-check. The event at the last part of the book is open-ended yet hopeful. Amir’s story now with Sohrab does not end with the book. It is a continuing journey but it ends with hope.
The story is heart-wrenching and I will surely remember it for the rest of my memory-driven life. It is a story that gives hope to readers that in the midst of life challenges and harsh realities, something good can actually happen. However, it did not strike me as a very exceptional story given the high ratings that it is getting, and considering that this is fiction where the author has all the freedom to perfect a story as he wishes. It must be the case because I live in a third-world country where I see real and similar struggles every day. I’ve read books with more intricate stories than The Kite Runner but are not getting this kind of recognition. I must say that what makes The Kite Runner stand out for me is the cultural backdrop where and when it was set since very few pieces of literature have been written so far to feature what was Afghanistan before the war at least in my personal exposure to books.
Also, The Kite Runner opens a lot of discussions on the subject that it touches.
Plot-wise, Amir’s story did not really make an impact on me. I think I have read much worse mistakes from some book characters before that need redemption. Although I did not exactly predict the twist and turns in the story like in the instance when it was revealed to Amir that Hassan was actually his half-brother as well as him meeting Assef again while rescuing Sohrab, I find these aspects too coincidental.
Overall and Final Thoughts on The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Overall, I think I had very high expectations of this book prior to reading it knowing that it received overwhelming ratings from millions of readers. However, I do find The Kite Runner a relevant story that I will surely remember through my existence. It’s the first book that gives me a front-row seat to Afghanistan culture prior to the war. It got my full attention and never lost it while I was reading the story. It also made me want to check out Shahnamah, the 10th century epic of ancient Persian heroes, for my future reads. Hence, I’m giving The Kite Runner a 4-star rating out of 5 in the purview of how I rate classics here in the Book Estuary blog.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Review
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