The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a profoundly moving novel about the relationships of privileged Amir and his devoted best friend and household servant Hassan, and between Amir and his wealthy father Baba. The novel begins in 1975 in the final days of the monarchy in Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan are inseparable until a devastating attack and a fateful choice tears the two boys apart. Amir and Baba are eventually forced to flee Afghanistan leaving all behind, including Hassan.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a profoundly moving novel about the relationships of privileged Amir and his devoted best friend and household servant Hassan, and between Amir and his wealthy father Baba. The novel begins in 1975 in the final days of the monarchy in Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan are inseparable until a devastating attack and a fateful choice tears the two boys apart. Amir and Baba are eventually forced to flee Afghanistan leaving all behind, including Hassan.This epic tale of lost innocence, jealousy, betrayal, cruelty, the horrors of war, and finally and ultimately, forgiveness and redemption, also gives an enlightening view of Afghanistan of which very few Westerners are familiar.
“Hassan and I fed from the same breasts. We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.
Mine was Baba.
His was Amir. My name.
Looking back on it now, I think the foundation for what happened in the winter of 1975 and all that followed was already laid in those first words”
From the Publisher
An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present.
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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 it is also about the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.
The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner tells a sweeping story of family, love, and friendship against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, bringing to mind the large canvases of the Russian writers of the nineteenth century. But just as it is old-fashioned in its narration, it is contemporary in its subject—the devastating history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years. As emotionally gripping as it is tender, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful debut. ~Penguin Books
Book Club Party Ideas for The Kite Runner
I loved decorating and planning this book club party. First of all, I had an excuse to shop for exotic silk scarves, and Latika lanterns. Secondly, I discovered the exotic rhythms of Afghan folk music. Afghanistan is a country rich in culture, music, and where the ability to compose and recite poetry is highly lauded.
I also planned some fun which was inspired by the passage in The Kite Runner where Amir in recalling his own wedding and reminiscence about Hassan, wonders “if he too had married. And if so, whose face he had seen in the mirror under the veil? Whose henna-painted hands had he held?”
Mehndi, is the art of henna painting and I thought is would be fun to adorn our own hands with henna! Be sure to practice a bit first or enlist an artsy friend to help out like I did! Also, if you’re planning on applying henna to both hands, allow the first hand to dry at least 30 minutes before proceeding to the second. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, be sure your guests know that the henna tattoo will remain for a good seven days, maybe a bit longer, so they can opt out or get a tiny non-descript tattoo! (I went the tiny non-descript route …)
I laid out a large cloth over my living room rug for my Afghan dinner spread, called a dastarkhan. The Afghan people are extremely hospitable and regardless of economic status, the creation of a proper dastarkhan is very important to the Afghan host.
I chose folk songs, ghazals, in honor of Amir’s mother-in-law, Khala Jamila, who had a talent for singing the ghazalas and was once “famous in Kabul for her enchanting singing voice.” Ghazals are highly rhythmic.
Listen to a sample of Afghanistan Rediscovered Treasures below by clicking play.
Book Club Menu for The Kite Runner
Tea is an important part of Afghan culture and is enjoyed throughout the day, so have tea ready to offer as the guests arrive. I prepared a traditional Afghan tea.
Afghan black tea steeped in milk with a dash of cardamom. This tea is so fabulous!
Afghani Cuisine is a blend of influences from the cuisines of the surrounding regions, most notably Iran and India. Most dishes are flavorful but not overly hot. The hot spices are most times added to accompaniments, such as chutney, for those who prefer their food hot.
The food I prepared for The Kite Runnerbook club party was inspired by the wedding feast of Amir and Soraya.
“… Colorful platters of chopan kabob (lamb kebobs),
sholeh-goshti (braised lamb with mung beans and rice),
A traditional rich and flavorful fimi milk custard topped with pistachio nuts for dessert.
Book Club Resources for The Kite Runner
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 4.15 stars (344,215 reviews)|
|Amazon: 4.5 stars (2818 reviews)|
|Barnes & Noble: 4.5 stars (1706 reviews)|
|My Rating: 5 stars Superb!|
- It is so powerful that for a long time everything I read seemed bland. — Isabel Allende
- Brilliant, startling plot twists make this book memorable both as a political chronicle and a deeply personal tale about how childhood choices affect our adult lives… It is rare that a book is at once so timely and of such high literary quality. — Publishers Weekly
- Parts of The Kite Runner ar raw and excruciating to read, yet the book in its entirety is lovingly written. Hosseini clearly loves his country as much as he hates what has become of it. — The Washington Post Book World
- It is not so much a story of Mideast politics . . . as it is a story of life in a beautiful country torn asunder. Through his characters and the plot, which is captivating and at times quite disturbing. Hosseini offers a lesson on his culture and the history of his beloved homeland. — San Antonio Express-News
Discussion Questions for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Why does Baba not consider Ali a friend? What type of relationship does Baba have with Amir and with Hassan? Does your impression of Baba change toward the end of the novel?
- This novel has very few female characters. Is this significant? In what way?
- Discuss the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Why does Amir often treat Hassan badly, constantly test Hassan’s loyalty, and seemingly resent Hassan? Why does Amir completely avoid Hassan after the kite fighting tournament?
- Discuss the two very different Afghanistans depicted at the start of the novel and later under the Taliban rule.
- What part of the novel is an important turning point for Amir on his path toward forgiveness and redemption?
- Discuss the importance of the novel’s title The Kite Runner.
Amazing photographs from Afghanistan
The Kite Runner at your favorite bookseller
The Author and Awards
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965. His father was a diplomat and while he and his family were living in Paris, the Soviet army took control of Afghanistan. The Hosseini family took asylum in the United States where Khaled Hosseini attended school, eventually graduating from medical school and becoming a practicing internist from 1996 to 2004. More information on Khaled Hosseini can be found on his website.
List of Awards forThe Kite Runner
- Book Sense Bestseller List Sensation
- Boeke Prize
- Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
- ALA Notable Book
- Alex Award
- Borders Original Voices Award 2003
- Entertainment Weekly’s Best Book 2003
- San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year 2003
- Literature to Life Award
Other Works by Kahled Hosseini and Recommended Reading
The Kite Runner film released in 2007 was directed by Marc Forester.
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