The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Pages: 371
Publisher: Penguin Group
Copyright: 2003
Format: Paperback
Rating: [rating:4]


Okay, I know that I am like the second-to-last person on the planet to have read this book. I’m not sure why exactly, except that it hasn’t really come up. This month I picked it up because we’re going to be discussing it in my face-to-face book club. And I’m so glad that we are. This is a book that begs to be discussed.

Here’s the teaser from Khaled Hosseini’s website:

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.

I have a lot of not-very-coherent thoughts about this book. As I started reading, I thought that the writing was a little stilted. And while that writing style didn’t necessarily change in the rest of the book, the story moved in and took all of the attention away from the writing – in a good way. I was compelled to read page after page. I read the last three hundred pages in one day, and I was impatient that things like eating and working got in the way.

And yes, for those that like to know such things, this is a violent book. Sad things happen and then some more sad things happen. But good things happen too.

Though I liked the story very much, there were some issues with it. For one, it was a little fantastic and a little convenient. But I didn’t care as I was reading. I was fascinated as the plot twists and turns. I was right there with Amir, living through it. After I finished that last page, I sat and ruminated on the meaning of the title, the relationship between Amir and Hassan, the relationship between Amir and Baba, the history of Afghanistan, and the fate of Sohrad. And that, I guess is what a really good book can do. This one isn’t perfect by any means, but it is beautiful and meaningful and just a really good read.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini [rating:4]

Other Reviews:
Book Nut
Book Review Maniac
Confessions of a Bibliophile
DogEar Diary
The Literate Housewife Review
Maw Books Blog
A Novel Menagerie
Out of the Blue
Reading Comes from Writing
She Treads Softly
Yule Time Reading

There are so many reviews of this book, I couldn’t list them all. If I missed yours, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it.

Categories: Fiction, Reviews


  • A Bookshelf Monstrosity

    Yes, I know it’s high drama and sometimes a little convenient, but still a very good read. I really enjoyed the book and it turned me on to reading more books set in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. I also enjoyed Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. For a mystery set in the Middle East, try Finding Nouf. Thanks for the review.

  • Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy)

    I’m with Kathy … I’m the last person to read this, too. (and like Kathy, it is also on my bookshelf.) I just read (listened to) A Thousand Splendid Suns a few weeks ago and loved it … looking forward to getting to this one. At some point. :)

  • Wendy

    I felt the same way you did about this book (I think I even gave it a similar rating). Have you read A Thousand Splendid Suns yet? I found that to be a much more cohesive and better constructed book (I gave it five stars). Thanks for the link to my review.

  • Suey

    I’ve been reading it all evening so I can be prepared for tomorrow. For awhile there I was thinking I wasn’t going to get it done , but now it looks promising. I really wanted to remember the details for our discussion tomorrow. And now I think I’ll be dreaming about it all night! It’s hitting me just as hard this time around.

  • Kailana

    I felt like the last person in the world to read this book back when I read it. lol Now, it is his newest book that I am getting to be one of the last people to read. :) Great review, though. I find it hard to review books that have been reviewed so many times, but you pulled it off well!

  • Matt

    I avoided this one because of the hype, so if you’re the second-to-last person to read it, I’ll be the last one. Then I read the first couple chapters but was not inspired by the stilted writing. I guess there must be a great plot for it to be popular. I’m open to pick it up again.

  • Amy

    I haven’t read this book yet! I have it on my TBR list. I appreciate you review because I keep hearing and reading raves about this book which is partly why I haven’t read it yet. Usually after hearing so many positive things about a book I find it disappoints. You review tempered the other things I have heard and brought the book back down to earth for me! I didn’t realize there’s a lot of violence. I like knowing that going in. It’s also good to know that, despite a few flaws, the story captivated you.

    Thanks for a great review!

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