1970s Afghanistan: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what would happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to an Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. In 1970 Hosseini and his family moved to Iran where his father worked for the Embassy of Afghanistan in Tehran. In 1973 Hosseini's family returned to Kabul, and Hosseini's youngest brother was born in July of that year. In 1976, when Hosseini was 11 years old, Hosseini's father obtained a job in Paris, France, and moved the family there. They were unable to return to Afghanistan because of the Saur Revolution in which the PDPA communist party seized power through a bloody coup in April 1978. Instead, a year after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1980 they sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He practiced medicine for over ten years, until a year and a half after the release of The Kite Runner. Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He has been working to provide humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan through the Khaled Hosseini Foundation. The concept for the foundation was inspired by the trip to Afghanistan that Hosseini made in 2007 with UNHCR. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Roya, and their two children (Harris and Farah).
Finished this book about a month ago but it's taken me this long to write a review about it because I have such mixed feelings about it. It was a deeply affecting novel, but mostly not in a good way. I really wanted to like it, but the more I think about what I didn't like about the book, the more it bothers me. I even downgraded this review from two stars to one from the time I started writing it to the time I finished.
Let's start off with the good, shall we? The writing itself was pretty good when it comes to description, in that I really felt the author's descriptions of scenes, and in terms of moving the story forward. That said, it's not particularly challenging writing to read.
The very best part of the novel is its warm depiction of the mixed culture of Afghanistan, and how it conveys the picture of a real Afghanistan as a living place, before the coup, the Soviet invasion, and above all, the Taliban and the aftermath of September 11th created a fossilized image in the US of a failed state, petrified in "backwardness" and locked in the role of a villain from central casting.
Now for the not so good.
== Spoiler Alert == ... because I don't think I'm going to be able to complain about what I didn't like about the book without revealing major plot points. (Not to mention, some of what follows will only make sense to someone who has read the book.) So if you don't want to spoil it for yourself, read no further, here be spoilers:
My overwhelming emotion throughout the book is feeling entirely manipulated. Of course, one major reason for this is that the author's attempts at metaphor, allegory, and forshadowing are utterly ham-fisted. When he wants to make a point, he hits you over the head with it, hard -- Amir's split lip / Hassan's cleft palate comes immediately, resoundingly to mind.
But I feel manipulated beyond that. The members of the servant class in this story suffer tragic, unspeakable calamities, sometimes at the hands of our fine hero, and yet the novel seems to expect the reader to reserve her sympathies for the "wronged" privileged child, beating his breast over the emotional pain of living with the wounds he has selfishly inflicted upon others. How, why, am I supposed to feel worse for him as he feels bad about what he has done to others? Rather than feeling most sympathy and kinship for those who, through absolutely no fault of their own, must suffer, not just once or twice, but again and again?
Of course this elevation of / identification with the "wounded"/flawed hero goes hand in hand with an absolutely detestable portrayal of the members of the servant class as being at their utmost happiest when they are being their most servile and utterly subjugating their own needs, wants, desires, pleasures -- their own selves, in fact -- to the needs of their masters. (Even when they are protecting their masters from their own arrogance, heartlessness, or downright stupidity.)
I don't see how the main character, Amir, could possibly be likeable. Amir's battle with Assef, momentous as it is, is not so much him taking a stand because he feels driven to do so or feels that he must. Rather, he acts with very little self-agency at all -- he is more or less merely carried forward into events. (And, moreover, in the end it is Sohrab (Hassan again) who saves him.)
I finished the novel resenting Amir, and even more intensely resenting the author for trying to make the reader think she's supposed to care about Amir, more than about anyone else in the story.
A couple other points: I'm wondering if one theme of the novel is that there are no definitive happy endings, no single immutable moments of epiphany or redemption. Because Amir's moral "triumph", such as it is, over Assef, is so short-lived. He manages to crash horrifically only a week or two later, when he goes back on his word to Sohrab about his promise not to send him to an orphanage.
And lastly, I don't understand why Baba's hypocrisy is not more of a theme. He makes such a point of drilling into his son's head that a lie is a theft of one's right to the truth. His own hipocrisy there is a profound thing, and it's a shame the author doesn't do more with it.
Nevertheless, after all the bad things I had to say about it, I do have a couple quotes worth keeping:
"Every woman needed a husband. Even if he did silence the song in her." (p.178)
"'That's the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That's the Afghanistan I know. You? You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it.'" (p. 232)
=== UPDATE ===
I originally posted my review The Kite Runner in February 2008. Since then, my review has generated a very robust response from other Goodreads members. I have responded a couple of times in the comments section, but I realize that by now, the comments section has gotten long enough that some folks may not realize that I have added some clarifications to my review. So, although the extended reply that I posted in the comments section in October 2008 is still available in the comments section, I am re-posting it here, so people don't miss it.
I also want to offer my continued thanks to those who have read, liked, and/or comment on my review of The Kite Runner. This kind of back-and-forth conversation on books is exactly why I signed on to Goodreads! I appreciate the feedback, and look forward to engaging in more such discussion.
Finally, one more quick reply. One recent commenter asked how I could have given this book only a 1 star rating, if I was so affected by it. As I replied in the comments, the short answer is that I am guided by Goodread's prompts when I rate a book. Two stars is "It was OK;" 1 star is "I didn't like it." While I have praised a few things about the book, the bottom line is, overall, I didn't like it. -- Linda, 22 July 2011
Posted 24 October 2008: There have been many comments to my review since I first wrote it, and I thought it might be about time for me to weigh in for a moment.
Before I get into my response, I must start off with a great thank you for all those who have felt sufficiently moved (positively or negatively) by my review to comment and respond. I appreciate all the comments, whether I agree with them or not.
First of all, I'd like to address the question of whether we're "supposed" to like Amir or not. Yes, I do realize that sometimes writers create and/or focus on a character that the reader is not meant to like. Here, though, the story is clearly meant to be about some kind of redemption -- but I found Amir so distasteful, that I simply wasn't interested in his redemption. The focus of the story was entirely on how Amir's life had been corrupted by the despicable things he'd done - when the things he'd done were entirely part and parcel of the position of power and privilege he occupied over Hassan.
Which brings me to my second point, the insufferable current of paternalism that runs throughout the story. The members of the servant and poorer classes are consistently portrayed as saintly, absurdly self-sacrificing, one-dimensional characters. Regardless of what terrible things befall them, they are shown to have nothing but their masters' interests at heart. Granted, it may be unlikely that the powerless would be overtly talking back and setting their masters straight; however, the novel gives no indication that they even have any private wishes of recrimination, or much of a private life, for that matter. Given this portrayal, it is even more difficult for me to muster any interest in Amir's suffering. But to suggest that perhaps we're misinterpreting the servants' subservient attitudes because we approach the story from a different time, place, or culture, is simply to engage in a cultural relativism borne out of -- and perpetuating -- the very same paternalism.
To clarify my point, let's look at some comparable examples from US culture. Consider any one of a huge number of films such as Driving Miss Daisy, Clara's Heart, Bagger Vance, or Ghost (all simply continuing a tradition that reaches back to Shirley Temple's days) in which noble servants or similar helpers have absolutely no concern in their lives other than making sure the wealthy people they are serving have happy, fulfilled lives -- while they themselves never seem to have any of their own personal hopes, desires, triumphs, tragedies, or even any hint of a home, family, personal, or romantic life at all. Their total happiness is bound up entirely with serving the lives of their rich counterparts. It is this quality, present throughout Hosseini's book, that bothers me most.
In the end, however, a beautifully written story could have overcome these criticisms -- or at the very least, I would have been able to temper or counter my points above with lavish praise for the writing. However, here, again, the novel falls flat. It is not particularly well-written. As some other commenters have also pointed out, the storytelling is quite heavy-handed, and the narrative suffers from implausible plot twists and uncanny coincidences, and a writing style that relies far too heavily on cliches and obvious literary devices.
I wish that I could say I liked the book more. To answer [another commenter's] question, I haven't read A Thousand Splendid Suns; I'm afraid I wasn't particularly motivated to do so after my reaction to this one. However, I do believe, as that commenter also suggests, that there is something to be gained from the debate and discussion that the book has inspired.
In 2012, when I was Mathematics teacher at a private high school in Iran, I had an Afghan student in my class. Sometimes, I discussed with my students about literature, and I told them of novels and poem. I found it very strange that my students had no interest in literature and even sometimes looked with hostility to this discussion. Days passed and much time was left to the end of school year. One day I saw Ali, Afghan student, came to me and had a booklet in his hand and I saw in his eyes several times as if he wanted to say something, but he was quiet. I waited for a little, and after a few moments, I began to speak. He smiled, and with a special Afghan accent, he said " I have written a story, sir " and became quiet again. I said "it's excellent! ", and I asked, "do you read books? ". Yes, sir, he replied. I asked, "what kind of books do you like? ". Mark Twain and John Steinbeck and Jules Verne, he answered. I asked what you have written? He replied I wrote a story about a 13 years old Afghan boy who immigrated to Iran. I got his booklet, and I read it in a week. It was a dark story. A week later, we discussed again after class. Ali invited me to go his house at night for reading books. I was pleased, and I greeted this plan. When night arrived, I took the kite runner and went to Ali's home. When I entered the house, I saw a house with mud walls that has no rooms, except a small hull that there was a table in the middle of it and almost nine children were dining. Of clothes of Ali's father, it was obvious that he was a building worker and he welcomed me very sincerely. I thanked him, and I went to the storehouse in the corner of the yard that Ali had made it, a place to be alone. Ali took the book and with incredible passion began to read. This process was repeated almost every night for a week, and we have read half of the Kite Runner. Among pages of the book, Ali informed me about Afghanistan, explained of how twenty people, entered Iran with a small car, illegally and secretly. Of how his classmates ridiculed him because of his Afghan accent, of how he was forced to work in a brick burner factory all days after the school, of how his dad has forced him to marry at the age of 13 in the summer. Then Ali proceeded to speak that he wants to be a writer and prizes the Nobel award. I saw in his room that he had Ferdowsi, Omar Khayyam, Hafiz and Rumi's book poem. When I looked at his face, I saw an unusual man who was ahead of his time and situation. Ali said, because Afghans have been banned of the registration in public schools in Tehran, he is forced to register in a private school, and now he and his mother must work hard to pay school charges. The next week, I went to class, but I didn't see Ali. When I asked the guys about him, they replied that because his father hadn't citizenship card and passport, he was arrested, and all of them have deported to Afghanistan. I was agitated that I couldn't continue reading Kite Runner never. Even I felt so depressed and sad when I saw the book in bookstores. Until this spring, after three years, I got a message in WhatsApp messenger from Ali, that congratulated teachers day to me. He was written that he married to a girl who was in love with her and they have a two months old girl baby. He was written he is working at a bookstore in Kabul and he has read almost thousand books in three years. He was written they have the 4G Internet in Kabul and I replied him, it's supposed to we have 4G in Tehran as well, soon! When I received the message, I could reread the Kite Runner. It was a great book, especially for me, recall nostalgia of tired immigrants and unfavorable circumstances. ************************************* سال 1391 زمانی که معلم ریاضی حق التدریس یه دبیرستان خصوصی شده بودم یه دانش اموز افغان هم سر کلاس داشتم ..هرازگاهی به بهونه های مختلف بحث رو به ادبیات میکشوندم و از رمان و شعر برای بچه ها میگفتم .. برام خیلی عجیب بود که بچه های کلاس هیچ علاقه ای به ادبیات نشون نمیدادن و گاهی حتی با دید تمسخر هم به قضیه نگاه میکردن.. روزها میگذشت و زمان زیادی به پایان سال تحصیلی باقی نمونده بود.. یک روز بعد از پایان کلاس دیدم علی محصل افغان , اومد کنار میز من و تووی دستش یه دفترچه داشت و تووی چشاش دیدم که چندبار انگار میخواست حرفی بزنه اما سکوت کرد.. کمی صبر کردم و بعد از چند لحظه سر صحبت رو باز کردم.. لبخند زد و با لهجه افغانی خاصش گفت "اقا من یه داستان نوشتم ".و سکوت کرد.. گفتم خیلی عالیه.. پرسیدم. کتاب هم میخونی? گفت اقا بله..گفتم چی میخونی? جواب داد مارک تواین و جان اشتاین بک و ژول ورن.. گفتم چی مینویسی ..جواب داد یه رمان نوشتم درباره یه پسر سیزده ساله افغان که به ایران مهاجرت کرده. دفترچه رو از علی گرفتم و تووی یک هفته خوندم. داستان غمگین بود. یک هفته بعد دوباره بعد از کلاس با هم صحبت کردیم. علی من رو دعوت کرد که شبها به خونه شون برم و کتاب بخونیم. خب خیل�� از این پیشنهاد خوشحال شدم و استقبال کردم. شب کتاب بادبادک باز رو برداشتم و رفتم . وارد خونه که شدم دیدم یه خونه با دیوارهای کاهگلی که هیچ اتاقی نداره بجز یه پذیرایی که وسطش یه سفره انداخته بودن و هشت نه تا بچه کوچیک داشتن غذا می خوردن. پدر علی که از لباسهاش مشخص بود یه کارگر ساختمونی هست با گرمی خاصی از من استقبال کرد. من تشکر کردم و با علی رفتیم به سمت انباری کوچیکی که گوشه حیاط بود و علی از اون یه جایی برای تنها بودنش درست کرده بود. علی کتاب رو از من گرفت و با شعف خاصی مشغول خوندن شد.. تقریبا یک هفته هر شب این جریان تکرار می شد و ما نیمی از بادبادک باز رو خونده بودیم. علی لابلای صفحه های کتاب برام از افغانستان میگفت از این که چطور بیست نفر با یه سواری وارد ایران شدن ازینکه چطور بچه های کلاس اون رو بخاطر لهجه افغانی مسخره میکنن از این که عصرها بعد از مدرسه مجبوره تووی کارگاه اجر پزی کار کنه. از اینکه پدرش مجبورش میکنه که تابستون تووی سیزده سالگی ازدواج کنه.. بعد علی ادامه داد دلش میخواد نویسنده بشه و جایزه نوبل بگیره. توی اون انباری کوچیک دیدم که شاهنامه و خیام و حافظ و مولوی هم داره.. میگفت حافظ رو از بر داره و خیام رو هم.. و من توی اون نگاهش یه پسر شریف رو می دیدم که خیلی از زمان و محیط خودش جلوتر رفته بود. علی گفت چون توی مدارس دولتی نامنویسی افغانها ممنوعه مجبور شده توی یه دبیرستان خصوصی درس بخونه و حالا خودش و مادرش برای تامین این هزینه مجبورن کار کنن.. هفته بعد که باز سر کلاس رفتم علی رو ندیدم. وقتی پرسیدم بچه ها گفتن که چون پدرش کارت نداشته گرفتنش و همشون رو فرستادن افغانستان. اونقدر ناراحت شدم که دیگه سمت بادبادک باز نرفتم. حتی دیدن کتاب تووی شهرکتابا غمگینم میکرد.. تا اینکه بهار امسال بعد از سه سال پیامی از علی تووی وایبر رسید که روز معلم رو تبریک گفته بود.. نوشته بود با دختری که دوستش داره ازدواج کرده و یک دختر دوماهه داره. نوشته بود حالا در یه کتابفروشی توی کابل کار میکنه و توی این سه سال هزارتا کتاب خونده.نوشته بود ما اینجا تووی کابل اینترنت نسل چهارم داریم. براش نوشتم قراره نسل چهارم بزودی به ایران هم برسه! با رسیدن پیام علی باز تونستم به بادبادک باز نزدیک بشم .کتاب خوبی بود.. مخصوصا برای من یاداور غربت مهاجرای خسته و ناسازگاری روزگار...
This is the sort of book White America reads to feel worldly. Just like the spate of Native American pop fiction in the late eighties, this is overwhelmingly colonized literature, in that it pretends to reveal some aspect of the 'other' culture, but on closer inspection (aside from the occasional tidbit) it is a thoroughly western story, firmly ensconced in the western tradition.
Even those tidbits Hosseini gives are of such a vague degree that to be impressed by them, one would have to have almost no knowledge of the history of Afghanistan, nor the cultural conflicts raging there between the Shia and Sunni Muslims, or how it formed a surrogate battleground for Russia and the United States in the Cold War, or for Colonial conflicts in the centuries before. Sadly, for all the daily news reports about Afghanistan, most people know very little of its history.
Hosseini's story is thickly foreshadowed and wraps up so neatly in the end that the reader will never have to worry about being surprised. Every convenient coincidence that could happen, does happen. He does attempt to bring some excitement to the story with dramatized violence, but that's hardly a replacement for a well-constructed plot. He is also fond of forcing tension by creating a small conflict between two characters and then having them agonize over it for years, despite the fact that it would be easy to fix and the characters have no reason to maintain the conflict. And since the conflict does not grow or change over time, everything is quickly reduced to petty and repetitive reactions.
He even creates a cliched 'white devil' character, a literal sociopath (and pedophile) as the symbol for the 'evils' of the Taliban. This creates an odd conflict in the narrative, since one of the main themes is that simple inequalities and pointless conflicts stem from Afghan tradition, itself. His indelicate inclusion of wealthy, beautiful, white power as the source of religious turmoil in the mid-east negates his assertion that the conflicts are caused by small-mindedness.
The fact that this character seems to have the depth of motivation of a Disney villain also means that he does not work as a representation of the fundamental causes of colonial inequality, which tend to be economic, not personal. The various mixed messages about the contributors to the ongoing Afghan conflict suggest that Hosseini does not have anything insightful to say about it.
Perhaps the worst part about this book is how much it caters to the ignorance of White America. It will allow naive readers to feel better about themselves for feeling sympathy with the larger mid-east conflict, but is also lets them retain a sense of superiority over the Muslims for their 'backwards, classicist, warlike' ways. In short, it supports the condescending, parental view that many Americans already have about the rest of the world. And it does all this without revealing any understanding of the vast and vital economic concerns which make the greater mid-east so vitally important to the future of the world.
It is unfortunate that nowhere amongst this book's artfully dramatized violence and alternative praising and demonizing of the West is there the underlying sense of why this conflict is happening, of what put it all into place, and of why it will continue to drag us all down. The point where it could turn sympathy into indignation or realization is simply absent.
There is a bad joke on the internet showing a map of the world with the mid-east replaced by a sea-filled crater with the comment 'problem solved'. What this map fails to represent is that there is a reason the West keeps meddling in the affairs of the mid-east, and that every time we do, it creates another conflict--because almost every group who we decry as terrorists now were originally trained and armed by the US and Western powers to serve our economic interests.
As long as we see extremists as faceless sociopaths, we can do nothing against them. We must recognize that normal people fall down these paths, and that everyone sees himself as being 'in the right'. Who is more right: the Westerner whose careless bomb kills a child, or the Muslim's that does?
The point shouldn't be to separate the 'good Muslims' from the 'bad Muslims', because people aren't fundamentally good or bad. They are fundamentally people. Almost without exception, they are looking out for their future, their children, and their communities. Calling someone 'evil' merely means you have ceased to try understanding their point of view, and decided instead to merely hate because it's easier to remain ignorant than to try to understand.
This book isn't particularly insightful or well-written, but that is in no way unusual in bestsellers. The problem is that Americans are going to use this book to justify their ignorance about the problems in the east. This book will make people feel better about themselves, instead of helping them to think better about the world.
For an actually insightful, touching view of the Afghan conflict, I would suggest avoiding this bit of naive melodrama and looking up Emmanuel Guibert's 'The Photographer'.
"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors."
"...attention shifted to him like sunflowers turning to the sun."
"But even when he wasn't around, he was."
"When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal a wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing."
"...she had a voice that made me think of warm milk and honey."
"My heart stuttered at the thought of her."
"...and I would walk by, pretending not to know her, but dying to."
"It turned out that, like satan, cancer had many names."
"Every woman needed a husband, even if he did silence the song in her."
"The first time I saw the Pacific, I almost cried."
"Proud. His eyes gleamed when he said that and I liked being on the receiving end of that look."
"Make morning into a key and throw it into the well, Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly. Let the morning sun forget to rise in the East, Go slowly, lovely moon, go slowly."
"Men are easy,... a man's plumbing is like his mind: simple, very few surprises. You ladies, on the other hand... well, God put a lot of thought into making you."
"All my life, I'd been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman."
"And I could almost feel the emptiness in [her] womb, like it was a living, breathing thing. It had seeped into our marriage, that emptiness, into our laughs, and our lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of our room, I'd feel it rising from [her] and settling between us. Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child."
"America was a river, roaring along unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins. If for nothing else, for that I embraced America."
"...and every day I thank [God] that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband and my son is not an orphan."
"...lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty."
"...sometimes the dead are luckier."
"He walked like he was afraid to leave behind footprints. He moved as if not to stir the air around him."
"...and when she locked her arms around my neck, when I smelled apples in her hair, I realized how much I had missed her. 'You're still the morning sun to me...' I whispered."
"...there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eys of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him... there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is."
Due to the large number of negative comments I've received, including death wishes, I've added the following request:
Please do not take this review (or yourself) too seriously when reading it.
I became what I am today at the age of twenty-nine, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 2008.
What I am about to tell you about what I became is going to be very shocking. It is going to manipulate your emotions. It may include some random words in my native language for no reason whatsoever. It will teach you unnecessary things about my culture. It will not be smarter than a fifth grader. And it will include as many cliches and as much foreshadowing as is humanly possible.
You are going to be shocked. I, for one, never saw it coming. So I doubt you will. Get ready. Aren't you so ready to be shocked? You're never going to see this coming.
What comes next is the big revelation, so get ready!
Wait, I need to ask you something first. Did you know that the Irish like potatoes? Yeah, we really enjoy them. And alcohol too. It's pretty great. Erin Go Bragh! This means Ireland Forever! Unfortunately, you will be very sad to know that my father just died due to an Irish car bomb. Well, about 15 of them to be exact. All on an empty stomach! It makes me sad and you should feel sad too, kind reader.
Ok, on to the big reveal. Here it is:
On that frigid overcast day, which happened to be the day that I decided to quit reading The Kite Runner, I became a book snob.
Because The Kite Runner is adored by most people who read it, I am forced to conclude that most people need to read more. A whole lot more. You should be embarrassed if you like this book. Seriously. The moment I became a book snob (shortly after "The Scene"), I became so embarrassed to be seen reading it that I accused the guy sitting next to me on the subway of putting the book on my lap while I wasn't paying attention. "How dare you, sir! Have you no decency?" I exclaimed excitedly in my native language. Then I noticed a monkey on the platform waiting to board a train. I quickly hopped off my train, ran to him, handed him the book, and said "Top O' the Mornin' to ya! Enjoy!"
Later that day, I saw that monkey flying a kite in front of the Washington Monument. I noticed that the glass string wasn't making his hands bloody. Do you know why? He was wearing gloves.
--------------------------------------------------------------- Please note that I have absolutely no appreciation for life and reality.*
*Bart Bondeson, who claims to be "a better person for having read this book," suggested that I make this clarification to my review. Thanks for the suggestion, Bart! Hopefully that clears things up for those who were wondering.
This book follows the story of a rich boy named Amir who grows up playing with his buddy Hassan who is the son of his father's servant. This story is one of friendship, betrayal, love, redemption, and family.
There were so many different twists in this book that I never saw coming. It was also so real that I had to Google, "Is The Kite Runner based on a true story?" If you are wondering, no, it is not.
Honestly, this book was so moving and beautiful that I was crying at multiple spots in the book. It would be hard to convey how much I love this book. Even typing this review, I am tearing up. Love in real life is not a Hallmark movie or a Lifetime show. Even people we love let us down and disappoint from time to time. The world doesn't always give us an easy hand in life. However, this author perfectly depicted imperfect characters who were doing their best.
If you need a read, this book is it. It is captivating and page turning. It will rumble your soul.
2023 Reading Schedule Jan Alice in Wonderland Feb Notes from a Small Island Mar Cloud Atlas Apr On the Road May The Color Purple Jun Bleak House Jul Bridget Jones’s Diary Aug Anna Karenina Sep The Secret History Oct Brave New World Nov A Confederacy of Dunces Dec The Count of Monte Cristo
The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books.
It tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, whose closest friend is Hassan.
The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of Afghanistan's monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime.
عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «بادبادک باز»؛ «بادبادک پران»؛ نویسنده خالد حسینی؛ تاریخ خوانش در ماه مارس سال دوهزاروپنج میلادی
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ نویسنده: خالد حسینی؛ مترجم زیبا گنجی؛ پریسا سلیمانزاده اردبیلی، مشخصات نشر تهران، مروارید، 1383، در 422ص؛ شابک9645881927؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: مهدی غبرائی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نشر همراه، 1384، در 456ص؛
عنوان: بادبادک پران؛ مترجم: منیژه شیخ جوادی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، پیکان، 1385، در 383ص؛ شابک 9789643284953؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: مهدی غبرائی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نیلوفر، 1386، در 368ص؛ شابک 9644482972؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: صدیقه ابراهیمی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، دایره، 1387، در 393ص؛ شابک 9789646939694؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: مژگان احمدی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، بهزاد، 1388، در 331ص؛ شابک 9789642569410؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: پیمان اشراقی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، نگارستان کتاب، 1389، در 508 ص؛ شابک 9786005541557؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: سمیه یداللهی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، شهرزاد، 1389، در 376ص؛ شابک 9786001710421؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: رقیه فیروزی؛ مشخصات نشر قم، رخ مهتاب راتا، 1392، در 338ص؛ شابک 9786007076026؛
عنوان: بادبادک باز؛ مترجم: حسین بخشی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، آوای مکتوب، 1393، در 368ص؛ شابک 9786007364055؛
داستان از زبان «امیر» روایت میشود، «امیر» نویسنده ای اهل «افغانستان» و از تبار ایل «پشتون» و ساکن «کالیفرنیا» هستند، که برای نجات یک بچه، راهی «افغانستان» میشوند؛ افغانستانی که در تحت حاکمیت «طالبان» است، و یکی از دشوارترین دورانهای تاریخ چند هزار ساله ی خویش را سپری میکند، و به بهانه ی همین سفر «امیر» به «افغانستان»، ایشان داستان زندگی خویش را نیز برای خوانشگر بازگویی میکنند
نقل از متن کتاب: (ناراحت شدن از یک حقیقت بهتر از تسکین یافتن با یک دروغ است ** حسن اینطوری بود؛ لعنتی آنقدر بی غل و غش بود که پیش او آدم همیشه حس میکرد ریاکار است ** بابا گفت: «خوبه.» اما نگاهش حیران بود؛ «خب هرچی ملا یادت داده ول کن، فقط یک گناه وجود دارد والسلام؛ آن هم دزدی است - البته برخی هم آن یک گناه را دروغگویی میدانند؛ هر گناه دیگری هم نوعی دزدی است؛ میفهمی چی میگویم؟» مایوسانه آرزو کردم و گفتم کاش میفهمیدم؛ و گفتم «نه بابا جون»؛ نمیخواستم دوباره ناامیدش کنم.؛ بابا با بی حوصلگی آهی کشید؛ با اینکار دوباره دلم را سوزاند، چون او اصلاً آدم بی حوصله ای نبود؛ یادم آمد که تا هوا تاریک نمیشد، هیچ وقت به خانه نمیآمد، همیشه ی خدا تنهایی شام میخوردم؛ وقتی میآمد خانه، از «علی» میپرسیدم بابا کجا بوده؟ هر چند خودم خوب میدانستم که سر ساختمان بوده، سرکشی به این، نظارت به آن؛ مگر این کارها حال و حوصله نمیخواست؟ از تمام آن بچه هایی که داشت برایشان پرورشگاه میساخت متنفر بودم؛ گاهی وقتها آرزو میکردم، کاش همه ی آنها با پدر و مادرهایشان مرده بودند؛ بابا گفت «اگر مردی را بکشی، یک زندگی را میدزدی؛ حق زنش را از داشتن شوهر میدزدی، جق بچه هایش را از داشتن پدر میدزدی؛ وقتی دروغ میگویی، حق کسی را از دانستن حقیقت میدزدی.؛ وقتی تقلب میکنی، حق را از انصاف میدزدی، میفهمی؟) پایان نقل از متن کتاب
تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 19/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975."
There are two types of books, usually, that makes one feel like there are no words to describe the experience: They are either unbelievably detrimental, or exceptionally (and positively) impactful. Given the overall high rating, it is redundant to tell, to which category does The Kite Runner belong. I don't think there are that many books, especially fiction, that could leave such a profound effect on a reader's mind.
"People say that eyes are windows to the soul." "Time can be a greedy thing - sometimes it steals all the details for itself."
What I loved the most about this book is the set of characters. Hosseini has done an amazing job developing them, which increases the emotional impact of the plot tenfold. Especially, it's remarkable how well he handled the first person protagonist, Amir. The traditional 'do wrong, then atone, conclude with happy ending' is not the way with The Kite Runner, but utilizes an attempt to direct Amir towards a path of atonement, while sticking to a more realistic ending. Had it not been for Hosseini's unique narrative, Amir's character could have turned far more contemptible. Luckily, for me, it was never the case. Many would probably love the secondary characters more, but it is important to remember that it was the protagonist's undistorted, self-criticizing account of the events that made it that way. It's not a perspective you see everyday, but I loved it.
"It always hurts more to have and lose than not have in the first place."
I was perfectly satisfied with the pace of the story, including the intermittent jumps in time Hosseini used to separate the book in to a few main parts. Each of these parts had their own theme going on, while introducing an occasional twist to keep things interesting. The only minor complaint I have is about the attempt at creating a villain. Even though it introduced a tiny bit of mystery to the plot, that particular part felt a little out of harmony with the rest.
"That's the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That's the Afghanistan I know. You? You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it."
The writing style is somewhat simple, but I believe most readers would be too absorbed in the plot to notice it. If anything, it felt more appropriate, reducing distractions from the flow of the story. But the plot, and the characters make up perfectly for any other shortcoming in my opinion. I wouldn't call this an emotional rollercoaster, for, the majority of the emotions include regret, disappointment, sadness, fear, anger, privation but very little happy ones. But all this helped the book become more moving. I usually don't enjoy books with sad endings but this one was definitely an exception, and worth all the heartbreak.
"Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie."
Before starting the book, based on almost all the reviews, I knew this was a sad story. But with fiction, if and when things get too depressing, a reader could always be consoled by the fact that this is, after all, fiction. It's easier attributing everything to being not real, and proceed from that safe spot. You're no going to find that solace here. If anything, unless we are fooling ourselves, the severity of reality has been lessened to make it more bearable. But I guess that's the whole point. That's what makes this deliver a profound reading experience. It enables all readers to understand, to empathize, and be considerate towards others. Kite Runner easily made it to my All-time-favorites and I believe this should be read by everyone.
'For you, a thousand times over!' he said. Then he smiled his Hassan smile and disappeared around the corner.
This is a wonderful, moving novel set in the Afghanistan of the early 70’s and of today, about a young boy and his friend growing up in Kabul. Amir desperately wants his father’s approval, but Baba is not quick to give it. He is a rich man, brimming with macho vibrancy, while his son is a different sort altogether. Amir is fast friends with Hassan, the son of his father’s servant. They are as close as brothers. But, beset by bullies, an event occurs that changes Amir’s life. There is much death and horror in this portrait of a tortured country. But there is also emotional richness, and a look into the inner life. By the end of the book there was not a dry eye in the house. It is recommended unreservedly. A wonderful tale, movingly told.
”When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing.”
I’m going to be honest with you. To read this book was a constant struggle, not because I didn’t like the writing style, not because it was bad and not because it was boring. No, if anything “The Kite Runner” was so hard to read because it was so exceptionally painful.
This book made me so sad! I felt helpless and angry and there were times I actually was more than just tempted to stop reading. Some of the chapters were just too hard to bear and the book touched me in a way I can’t even describe. It did something with me… and I’m still not sure whether this was good or bad.
All I know is that the injustice in this book made me furious and that I just have to think about it and already feel sick to my stomach again. There were so many serious topics in this book but I think what really got to me was the central theme of violence, injustice and abuse. To read “The Kite Runner” was so devastating and nerve-racking I actually couldn’t read more than two chapters a day. It was so upsetting that I found it difficult to motivate myself to read it and even though this was such a painful read, I still wanted to know what would happen next.
Amir’s and Hassan’s story was so horrible, appalling, powerful and beautiful at the same time. It left me completely broken and raw and I think my emotions are still all over the place. So if my review sounds a little incoherent and illogical you can blame it on the book hangover I'm currently suffering from. XD
”But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either.
Amir and Hassan are best friends who grew up together and live in Kabul. They do almost everything together and one of their favourite hobbies is kite running. One day there is a local kite-fighting tournament Amir is determined to win and with the help of Hassan he is even able to achieve his goal. The victory of the tournament comes with a high price though and in the end their moment of happiness isn’t only short lived but also comes to an abrupt end. What happens after the competition destroys their lifelong friendship and shakes the foundations of their trust, the course of their lives changing as they try to deal with the repercussions of a single day.
”It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime, Amir," he said.
Beware there are plenty of spoilers lying ahead of you!!!
”I pretended I was reading from the book, flipping pages regularly, but I had abandoned the text altogether, taken over the story, and made up my own. Hassan, of course, was oblivious to this. To him, the words on the page were a scramble of codes, indecipherable, mysterious. Words were secret doorways and I held all the keys.”
Puh, what to say about him? I think I never disliked a protagonist as much as I disliked the narrator of this story. I just couldn’t stand his younger self and I thought he wasn’t just egoistic but also spoiled and more than just unethical. The way Amir treated Hassan made me sick and his betrayal towards his best friend hurt so much! I mean how could he let this happen? How could he stand aside without intervening? How could he even think that Hassan is “just a Hazara”?! I don’t understand it and if I’m entirely honest I really think that it was good he felt bad throughout the entire book! His past haunted him and in the end it actually made him a better person. A person that stood up to bad people and a person I was finally able to forgive. It was a long journey for Amir but he eventually did the right thing and when I read the finial sentences of this book I was even proud of him. XD
”It’s all right.” I turned to the general. “You see, General Sahib, my father slept with his servant’s wife. She bore him a son named Hassan. Hassan is dead now. That boy sleeping on the couch is Hassan’s son. He’s my nephew. That’s what you tell people when they ask.” They were all staring at me. “And one more thing, General Sahib,” I said. “You will never again refer to him as a ‘Hazara boy’ in my presence. He has a name and it’s Sohrab.”
I waited 331 pages for that to happen!!! XD
”Then Hassan did pick up a pomegranate. He walked toward me. He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead. ‘There,’ he croaked, red dipping down his face like blood. ‘Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?’ He turned around and started down the hill.”
God bless his kind and innocent soul!!! This boy was an angel and I don’t even know how he was able to forgive Amir. As it seems he managed to do it though and my deep respect and love for his character will never cease. I loved Hassan with all my heart and I think his only flaw was that he was just too good to live in this sick and violent world. He would have deserved so much more than life gave him and when I found out about Sohrab’s ordeal I was more than just heartbroken. I was devastated!!! I know Hassan must have turned over in his grave and I felt so, so, so damn sorry for what happened to both of them.
”The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.
Baba definitely was a very flawed character but I still couldn’t help but had to love him for it. There was so much good in him, yet he also had his bad sides. For a person that was described as seeing the world in black and white he actually was all different kinds of grey and in some way that made him extremely likeable and disagreeable at the same time. *lol* I think he was a very contradictory person and after finding out about his secret I was finally able to understand why. Still, I loved that despite everything he tried to be a righteous man and when it comes down to it he certainly had his heart in the right place.
”Ask him where his shame is.” They spoke. “He says this is war. There is no shame in war.” “Tell him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.”
”And now, fifteen years after I’d buried him, I was learning that Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind, because the things he’d stolen had been sacred: from me the right to know I had a brother, from Hassan his identity, and from Ali his honor. His nang. His namoos.”
This boy B.R.O.K.E my heart and I don’t even know how I’m supposed to pick up the pieces. He was just ten!! Damn it!! I don’t understand how people can hurt children and I can’t even… *argharghsdfjklmno* I hate what Assef did to him and I’m so glad Sohrab got away from his clutches! Chapter 22 was so horrible to read… It made me sick to my stomach and I swear I was tempted to throw the book against a wall… Urgh… just to think about his hands on Sohrab… My heart aches so much for that little boy!!! He deserved a better childhood than that! Damn no!! He actually deserved a childhood to begin with!!!!
”I miss Father, and Mother too,” he croaked. “And I miss Sasa and Rahim Khan sahib. But sometimes I’m glad they’re not … they’re not here anymore.” “Why?” I touched his arm. He drew back. “Because –“ he said, gasping and hitching between sobs, “because I don’t want them to see me… I’m so dirty.” He sucked in his breath and let it out in a long, wheezy cry. “I’m so dirty and full of sin.”
And OMG that beautiful ending! That hopeful, amazing and beautiful ending! It killed me, it was the death of me, it was the final nail in my coffin!!! That sweet and gentle and shy boy!!!! XD I already get emotional just thinking about it! *blinking away tears*
The bottom line: I hated the book! I loved the book!
I hated the injustice, the pain Ali, Hassan and Sohrab had to go through, I hated the way the Taliban treated everyone they considered to be wrong and different, I hated to read about the destruction of Amir’s hometown, I hated the violence, I hated the war, I hated to read about the many orphans, the hungry children on the street. I hated the way Amir acted when he was younger!!!
”She had a large purple bruise on her leg for days but what could I do except stand and watch my wife get beaten? If I fought, that dog would have surely put a bullet in me, and gladly! Then what would have happened to my Sohrab?”
But I loved the details about Afghan culture, I admired the bravery of Hassan and Baba, my heart sang whenever they tried to be righteous and good. In a world that had gone to hell they still tried to be decent, they still tried everything possible to stand up for their people, to do the right thing. They still had values and they didn’t just believe in them, they also acted according to them!!!
So yes, for me “The Kite Runner” was a very powerful book. It pushed my boundaries and forced me to fight through it! It made me think about unpleasant things, it forced me to see the bad and ugly things our world is made of, but it also showed me the good in people and their kindness!
If you can live with a broken heart and are able to deal with the pain, this book his highly recommended. If you’re one of the faint-hearted you better give it a wide berth.
As for me, I definitely will never re-read this book ever again! I’m kind of proud that I accomplished to read it though! XD
Two little friends, an unspeakable secret, and a quest for redemption.
"Amir" and "Hassan" are two little boys living in the peaceful Afghanistan of 1975, before the russian invasion, and the subsequent civil wars. Amir is the spoiled son of a wealthy and prominent merchant. Hassan is the cleft lipped son of an inferior caste, and a servant in the house they both live in. During their childhood they become fervent competitors in kite fighting tournaments, and unquestionable friends. Until one fateful day a traumatic event starts gradually separating them forever apart. Decades later, the dark secret that separated them so many years ago starts re-emerging. A secret that ends revealing long forgotten family betrayals, wars, and ethnic differences that led two little inseparable boys into very different life paths.
A novel about the inherent strengths and weaknesses in each person, the guilts, and the terrible consequences of trying to endure them, or avoid them.
Highly recommendable, very powerful, inexplicably painful. There are books that tell an unique unforgettable story, but there are a few special ones that also have the exceptional quality of transmitting something immensely valuable about the culture of a foreign country; beyond the deeply ideological differences, pros and cons you may find with such society. And, like I hold "Shantaram" as an unequalled novel about indian culture, I will hold "Kite Runner" as an inestimable novel about afghan. And I remain hopeful of ever finding books like these two, regarding any foreign culture.
Few times I suffered so much with a book, but the level of suffering is a good measure of how much you strongly and deeply connected with said book. An infinity of quotes and moments to remember.
Still remaining, the movie.
----------------------------------------------- PERSONAL NOTE:  [371p] [Historical] [Highly Recommendable]
Dos pequeños amigos, un secreto inconfesable, y una cruzada por la redención.
Amir y Hassan son dos pequeños niños viviendo en la pacífica Afganistán de 1975, antes de la invasión rusa y las subsiguientes guerras internas. Amir es el hijo mimado de un prominente y rico señor comerciante, Hassan el hijo de labio leporino de una casta inferior y sirviente de la casa en la que ambos viven. Durance la infancia se vuelven fervientes competidores en torneos de lucha de barriletes y amigos incuestionables. Hasta que un fatídico día un hecho traumático termina gradualmente separándolos para siempre. Décadas después, el oscuro secreto que los separó tantos años atrás vuelve a resurgir. Un secreto que termina revelando olvidadas traiciones familiares, guerras y diferencias étnicas que llevó a dos pequeños niños inseparables por muy diferentes caminos de vida.
Una novela sobre la fortaleza y la debilidad inherente en cada persona, sobre la culpa, y las terribles consecuencias de tratar de sobrellevarla, o evadirla.
Muy recomendable, muy fuerte, inexplicablemente doloroso. Hay libros que cuentan una historia única e inolvidable, pero existen algunos muy especiales que además tienen la excepcional cualidad de trasmitir algo inestimable sobre la cultura de otro país; más allá de las profundas diferencias ideológicas, pros y contras que uno pueda ver en dicha sociedad. Y así como estimo a Shantaram como una novela inigualable sobre la cultura india, tendré a Kite Runner como un fruto inestimable de la cultura afgana. Y me mantengo esperanzado de encontrarme alguna vez con otras novelas como éstas dos, sobre cualquier cultura extranjera.
Pocas veces sufrí tanto con un libro, pero la medida del sufrimiento es una buena medida de lo profundamente que conectaste y te llegó determinado libro. Infinindad de frases y momentos para el recuerdo.
Queda pendiente la película.
----------------------------------------------- NOTA PERSONAL:  [371p] [Histórica] [Altamente Recomendable]
no words can describe the heaviness i am feeling in my heart right now.
i will never re-read this as it is too emotionally devastating (i genuinely cant remember the last time a book made me cry so much), but i know it is a story that will stay will me for the rest of my life. of that, i have no doubt.
also, john, thanks for recommending this book, but i will be sending you my bill for all the therapy i will need after this.
i really wanted to like this novel. judging from its thousands of 'five-star reviews' hailing it as the one of the 'best books ever written,' i'm in the minority when i state that this novel, while well-intentioned, just left a little bit of sour taste in my mouth.
my problems with the novel are as follows: first of all the writing itself is so ham-fistened, heavy-handed, distracting and otherwise puzzling that by the midway point, i seriously considered chucking the book against the wall. each page of the novel has at least 5-10 incomplete sentences. i'm all for experimental and fractered prose--but it's important for authors to use it judiciously. hosseini, unfortunately, beats it to death. a lot of his language is cliched, too, which is funny considering there's a passage in the book about a writing teacher who warns the narrator, amir, about using cliches. i don't know if that was supposed to be funny or not, but it made me laugh (and what was worse was the san francisco's chronicle's glowing review on the book's cover and the san francisco chronicle's glowing review of amir's novel--coincidence?).
the author's use of farsi--especially in the dialogue--was equally distracting. my point is that no one speaks the way his characters speak. people don't switch back and forth between languages while speaking, and if they do, they certainly don't speak 1/2 the sentence in english, say one word in farsi, then traslate the farsi word to english, then finish the sentence in english, when they're presumably speaking farsi to begin with. i didn't pick up this book for a crash course in colloquial farsi. after 370 pages, i was frustrated--and annoyed.
hosseini's plot often borders on the ridiculous. the'twists' are just TOO coincidental--and not surprising at all (except in how contrived they are). for example, in a devasted kabul, amir sees a homeless man in the street. the homeless man, of course, was a former university professor who just happened to teach with amir's long deceased mother. what a coincidence! what makes it worse, is that the narrator, amir then explains that while that may, in fact, seem like a coincidence, it happens in afghanistan happens all the time. of course it does. in another example, amir's former nemesis, assaf (now a taliban crony), beats up amir and amir ends up with a scar above his lip, just like his dear friend hassan, who was born with cleft-pallet. oh, the coincidence! (and the fact that amir even runs into assef again is ridiculous). another example: amir and his wife aren't able to have children, and of course they find an orphan boy who happens to be extended family and they adopt him. what a coincidence! and after amir returns to afghanistan he doesn't call home to his dutiful wife for over a month. i kept wondering 'when's he gonna call home?' and any plot advanced by a series of 'tragedies,' (and in this book they are legion) shows little more than the writer's inability to craft a meaningful and interesting plot. not only is it pretty poor form, it's also highly manipulative and condescending. i found myself continually frustrated by hosseini's apparent distrust of the reader. we don't have to be told how and when to interpret metaphors. and if i read one more book where the protagonist is a writer or professor, i'm gonna ram my head into a metal post.
i don't want to sound like a misanthrope or jaded literature reader because i'm certainly not. this novel just left me wanting so much more in terms of plot and characterization. having said that, however, the novel could be important in that shows the cruelty of the taliban. much of what hosseini writes about is important, especially for us westerners unfamiliar with the breadth and scope of the afghani tragedy.
افغانستان دوباره تنهاست زن تنهاست و انسان چه آسان در خون خود میغلتد...
آرامش پیچاندن پیچ زندگی در پایین ترین حد است سکوت خاموش کردن آن پیچ است. بستن آن است، بستن تمام آن
تمام ستارگان آسمان برای کتاب هایی مثل بادبادک باز ، همسایه ها و ... که از واقعیات زندگی مردم و دردهایشان می گویند کم است و توهین آمیز این پنج ستاره هم به سرنوشت من دچار شده اند و از پس تعریف بادبادک باز بر نمی آیند
اولین بار در این کتاب بود که اسم هزاره رو از سربازی افغانی شنیدم و اول فکر کردم حتما ناسزا یا فحشی خیلی زشتی است که او با تمسخر حسن را با این اسم صدا میزند با خودم می گفتم اگر این واقعیت داشته باشد هزاره ها چطور تونستن در چنین فضای تحقیرآمیزی زندگی کنن جایی که حتی کودکان را هم بخاطر نژادشان تمسخر می کنند
بیا فرض کنیم که پدر و مادر بچه زنده نمانده اند.حتی در این حال اداره - مهاجرت فکر می کند بهتر است بچه را به کسی بدهد که مقیم کشور زادگاه اوست.تا میراثش پامال نشود
کدام میراث؟ طالبان هر میراثی را که افغانستان داشته از - بین برده.دیدید که با مجسمه عظیم بودا در بامیان چه کردند؟
از این عکس وحشتناک تر جمله زیر بود
مین.آیا راه بهتری از این برای مرگ افغان ها هست؟
اما چیزایی که فکرم را مشغول کردند
:شیعه بودن هزاره ها و سنی بودن پشتو ها
یادمه تو ویکی پدیا و خود کتاب خواندم که پشتوها سنی و هزاره ها شیعه هستند و حتی طالبان در شهر مزار شریف، هزاره ها را به جرم مذهبشون قتل عام کردند اما در کتاب "امیر" که پشتو بود از گذاشتن مهر در نماز می گفت و "حسن" که هزاره بود نمی گذاشت پنج نمازش قضا شود
حسن هيچوقت پنج وعده نمازش قضا نمي شد،حتي وقتي بازي مي كرديم،عذرخواهي ميكرد،از چاه حياط آب مي كشيد،وضو مي گرفت و توي كلبه ناپديد ميشد
امیر هم با خود می گوید:در حقیقت یادم نمی آمد که آخرین بار کی سر به مُهر گذاشته ام
همانطور که می دانید سنی ها مهر نمی گذارد و شیعیان هم فقط سه نماز را بصورت حاضره می خوانند نمیدانم نویسنده از این تضاد میخواست نکته ای بگوید یا فقط اشتباهی مرتکب شده بود
:چشمان سبز هزاره ها
دوستی می گفت چشمان سبز یکی از مشخصات ظاهری بیشتر آریایی ها بوده
خالد حسینی علاقه زیادی به گفتن درباره چشمان سبز هزاره ها داشت ...از مادر حسن گرفته تا زن حسن و می گویند هزاره ها بخاطر چشمان بادامی شاید از نسل مغول ها باشند اما شاید همین چشمان سبز دلیل بر رد این نظریه باشد و نشان بدهد که این مردمان جزو کهن ترین مردمان سرزمین افغانستان باشند حالا اصلا حساب کنیم قدمتشان به 100 سال هم نرسد و مذهبشان هم متفاوت با دیگران باشد
آیا به این دلایل مسخره، باید نسل آنها را نابود کرد!؟ چون مانند ما نماز نمی خوانند و خون ملتی بیگانه در رگ هایشان در گردش است؟
Abuse, caste system, and invasion long time effects
Described in explicit detail That´s one of the reasons the book first had problems with all audiences, Westerners, and different fractions of the Afghan people. It´s just totally in your face and doesn´t care about genre conventions regarding violence and especially sexual explicitness. The fact that that´s unacceptable in non democratic Afghan parties is understandable. But that first world people had problems with some heavy stuff is one more ridiculous overkill, especially because it uses the described atrocities to
Denounce invasions, hierarchies, and sexual abuse The cruelty of war is the most obvious problem everyone agrees upon, but what about status? No matter if it´s in a feudal medieval state, a caste system, or defined by socioeconomic power and thereby worth, dividing people by giving them different social positions is a game as old as time. And it works so well, everyone high in the ranks will use her/his big influence to concrete this power for eternity and all others are busy fighting to reach the top or just somehow survive. Thereby, they aren´t able to work together and realize the immense influence they could have as united citizens of a country or people of the world, and instead
Help the 1 percent become even mightier The Western US and EU model of doing as if there is a democracy and equality, while it´s in reality just an oligarchy of international megacorporations, military industrial complexes, and public private partnerships controlling all governments except for the rare eco social Nordic model ones, is even more ludicrous than pure caste systems. At least they honestly say that they believe in the hereditary, faith fueled, or traditional different worth of people. One of the most disturbing real life manifestations of this is how they deal with
Strong sexual predators Everyone else is prey and they exactly know that nothing can happen to them. In industrialized countries, there is at least a small chance of a metoo wave and many speaking up after one dared to do so, although victim blaming, slut shaming, and perpetrator protection are often louder than the cries of the rape victims. In caste systems, it´s simply a kind of inherent right of alphas to do whatever their fetish is with everyone else in alphabetic order. All these elements are united
To describe the unnatural friendship Of a high and a low ranking kid of a society. Besides great characterizations, the invasion pimping the plot, a detailed description of the Afghan society, and the mentioned deeper messages, innuendos, and connotations, their life is the essence of this outstanding novel. And there is no room for unrealistic fairytale tropes, happy endings, or justice in a country so grim, gruesome, and sadistic. The essence of the world humans love to create so much with
Superpowers playing chess with weaker nations No matter which country in the Southern hemisphere, Middle East, and Central Asia, they are all victims of neocolonialism, sometimes full scale military invasions and occupations, and everything the WTO, World Bank, and IMF throw at them in economic warfare experiments. But guess what, hypocritical and bigoted Europeans and US Americans prefer to be sad about the terrible things described in novels showing the consequences of exploitation, than to realize that their political and economic system is the reason for all the suffering.
We move backwards to early seventies’ Afghanistan , Kabul to meet with Amir who is a young boy, whose only happiness related with his father’s approval and his best friend Hassan: who is father’s servant’s son!
As monarchy of Afghanistan is under threat by Russian invasion, those boys’ life will never be the same!
This is one of the darkest, most effective, heart wrenching stories you’ve ever read! Sometimes incidents you’ve read are extremely hard to absorb. You want to take a break, closing your book, gathering your composure to return back. The viciousness, unfairness, the tragedies shake you to the core, hurting you deeply as if tiny pieces of glasses are embedded under your skin.
I think not any human being in this world can finish this book dry eyed. This is my third rereading and i cannot stop crying! Definitely A MUST READ! Powerful, provocative, dark, sad, heartbreaking, perfectly written! Best work of the author!
I liked this book a lot. Due to the uncomfortable nature of the story told, I'll probably never read it again, but I'm glad that I did read it once. I saw it as the story of one not very likeable boy growing up in a soon to be war torn region and his eventual struggle for redemption.
I was quite surprised to see how popular some of the negative reviews of this book were and I'd like to comment on a few of the comments they contained.
One condemnatory critic said "This is the sort of book White America reads to feel worldly." Ah, if only that were truer. In a study done not long ago, over half of American adult men, when asked, admitted to having read NO books in the last year. Personally, as a white American, this book made me grateful that I grew up where I did, and once again reminded me of how good I've had it, and how little I really know about life outside these insular, isolationist, United States.
Another critic claimed that this book "...portrays Afghanistan as backward" Personally I thought that it portrayed it as a war torn, deeply wounded country that was at one time a bit like our ante-bellum south. It was made quite clear that we saw pre-soviet Afghanistan through the eyes of a doubly privileged class, the rich child.
Another critic claimed "The members of the servant and poorer classes are consistently portrayed as saintly, absurdly self-sacrificing, one-dimensional characters." Yes, that's true. But the viewpoint is a that of an over-privileged, rich, selfish child. Given the ante-bellum south atmosphere that our protagonist sees, it's a wonder that the epithet "uncle Tom" wasn't used.
Finally one critic complained "The book fails exactly where it most needs to succeed - in the depiction of the Taliban." Personally, I felt that while that need may be great, I didn't see that as the purpose of this book.
I saw this book as the story of one man's journey toward redemption against a background of a troubled heritage. I sometimes recall doing things as a child that now makes me wonder about myself, and while I like to think I've become a better human being, I sometimes shudder at the savage, thoughtless child that was once under this skin. For the personal perspective alone, I think this book is a worthwhile, if sometimes uncomfortable, read. If you let it, it may make you a better person.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ( Berliani M. Nugrahani, Translator) is a 2004 Riverhead Books publication.
Earlier this year I read Moloka'i by Alan Brennert, another book, like this one, written back in 2004. It seemed I was the only person in the world who had not read the book, and once I’d finished reading it, I wondered why it had taken me so long to read it. This got me to thinking about all the books that I’d intended to read, but never got around to. So, despite my strong feelings about making reading resolutions, I vowed to read more books ‘the entire world has read but me’. Other than Moloka��I, I have also read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale”, and now- “The Kite Runner”.
The Kite Runner has over 68,000 reviews on Goodreads, so I’m not going to recap the synopsis, nor am I going to break down all the various ways in which this book touched me in one way or another, or analyze all the important messages in the story, as I don’t think I can add anything more to what has already been said.
However, I couldn’t simply leave a rating and felt compelled to add a few personal remarks about my experience with this novel- but I’ll keep it brief.
First of all- why on earth did I wait so long to read this book?
This story is an incredible gut-punching- heart-wrenching, powerful and very thought-provoking family saga.
The juxtaposition between the two boys and the separate paths on which they embark is tragic, but eventually leads to long overdue penance and justice, as well as redemption and forgiveness. This riveting drama is very reflective, and handled with crisp precision, evoking a myriad of emotions. While the story is deeply depressing and so very sad, it is also an uplifting, inspirational story of a personal reckoning and redemption, which is the part of the story I’ll always carry with me.
I’m so very glad I took the time to finally sit down and read this book! Although the book is fifteen years old now, it still has the same profound resonance it did when first published. I’m still hugging my box of tissues!
Amazing storytelling, amazing book- One I will never forget!
Evocative, invigorating, heart-wrenching, riveting, realistic, poignant, complex, brilliant, emotional, gripping, intriguing. I can use many more words to describe this book. Still, I will feel that it is not enough.
The story of the extraordinary friendship between Amir and Hassan told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan will incontrovertibly move your heart and bring some tears to your eyes. If you are a person who reads only 5-6 books a year, this one should be at the top of your reading list.
Amir, a little boy growing up in the early 1970's in Kabul the capital of Afghanistan, has the idyllic life a wealthy father Baba, a widower the mother died giving birth to Amir he believes the father hates him for that, in the most beautiful house some say in the city, a great friend Hassan the son of Ali, a servant and loyal to the family. Baba and Ali had been friends too in childhood strange since Hassan's father is just a Hazara (Mongol), Hassan's promiscuous mother had left them to join a group of dancers , a detested minority in the country hated and persecuted by the dominant Pashtuns, they call themselves the real Afghans...But the world never stays the same always moving forward for better or worse and it gets much much worse, King Zahir Shah, peaceful, forty year reign is ended overthrown, by his disloyal cousin Daoud Khan, making himself the President of the Republic whatever that is ...The communist kill the usurper the Russians invade and forty bloody years later the wars continue... Amir and Hassan are inseparable constantly playing together , walking to the top of the nearby hill as Baba's son reads to Hassan an illiterate, making up stories also to trick his friend, he does that often to the always amiable boy, flying kites in the blue skies their great passion together. Hassan saves the cowardly Amir from the local bully Assef, half - German with blond hair and evil eyes , brass knuckles in his pocket a crazed sadist, he enjoys inflicting major damage to his victims yet will not challenge the Hazaras powerful slingshot. Pahim Khan is Baba's, wise best friend and business partner, frequent visitor and knows all the dark secrets that even Amir doesn't. Kind to the lonely boy, while the disappointed cold father, at six foot five, strong as an ox too brave sometimes during bad situations, he wrestled a bear once and lived to boast about his victory sees his child, a weak boy a bookworm can he really be his son ? In the neighborhood kite contest Amir with the help of Hassan wins, defeats dozens of opponents the proud father looks glowingly from above on his rooftop , with Pahim Khan this is his son at last. But while the incomparable kite runner Hassan, follows the last blue kite slowly falling (a symbol of an era soon gone) , that was downed by Amir to insure victory and get the souvenir, a horrible event occurs in a dirty alley witnessed by timid Amir , it will ensure a lifetime of pain remorse and unforeseen consequences. A terrific tale of redemption, a child's view of the world turned sideways shattered into many pieces that will never be the same, but still life must go on people are complicated and reality is hidden from most of us .
'The Kite Runner' had been sitting on my TBR list for years. I kept putting it off because while I was sure that it would be a fantastic book, it isn't the type of smutty romance that I usually read. I knew that I'd have to be in the right kind of mood to read it. Finally, I found myself wanting to read something a little different to break me out of a reading rut and I downloaded the Audible version of 'The Kite Runner' and started listening.
As expected, this book was nothing like my usual love stories. This book is the type of book that makes you think about your life and reevaluate your values and what you think you know. It is the type of book that makes you question what you'd do in a given situation if the tables were turned.
If you're like me, and have always been blessed to live in a country where you've never experienced the brutality and terror of warfare firsthand, this book serves as a reminder of how lucky you truly are. As a woman, and a mother of two daughters, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I was born in a country where women are treated as equals. Sure, there are still some inequalities. However, when I think of how women are treated in many other regions of the world, I am incredibly thankful to have the freedoms that I do.
I won't rehash this story, because it's been done a million times already and I don't think there's anything I could say that hasn't been said already. However, I will say that this was a wonderful book. It was grim, brutal and depressing, but also beautiful at times. It was emotional and infuriating, but you can't say that you didn't "feel" while reading this one. I experienced a full range of emotions.
In the end, it grounded me and put all of my petty gripes into perspective. We all need to be reminded of how blessed we are at times. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an emotional and enlightening story.
“There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.”
I’ve read books before with an unreliable narrator and also read accounts of cowardice and shame. Amir, the first-person protagonist and narrator from Hosseini’s 2003 novel, filled me with such disgust and loathing that I almost put the book down at 25%.
My doctor would say that Amir suffered from AWDD – Ass whooping deficiency disorder and I would enthusiastically second that diagnosis.
That said, I invite everyone to read the book and see how it all plays out.
“There is a way to be good again...”
The poet Galway Kinnell once wrote that there are some regrets we can never be rid of. He was right in so many ways. An inability to forgive ourselves for past moments of cowardice, shame and inaction are the most troubling and relentless sorrows we can face as humans wandering around on this poor earth. We can forgive others, even those who have harmed us greatly, but looking ourselves in the eye and offering absolution can be an act beyond so many of us.
I took my time getting to this book for a great many reasons and now that I have finally read it, I am so glad. This book moved me. Hosseini was able to pluck heart strings of emotion that I had thought silent and stolid. The themes of loyalty, friendship, devotion countered with betrayal, animosity and selfishness were plaintive notes played out in a literary orchestra of human sentiment.
“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
We follow a distorted tale of mistakes and timidity towards an ultimate chance at redemption. Amir’s is an understood but still contemptuous plight of lost opportunity. Shielded by cultural, social and religious privilege, his regrettable acts of pusillanimity are displayed against the heroic and admirable examples of his steadfast friend Hassan and his intrepid father. Hosseini paints us a picture of an evolving and destabilizing Afghanistan, tortured for years with Soviet occupation and then granted only the briefest of reprieves before falling to the theocratic and brutal rule of the Taliban. Amir’s journey is one of deliverance and redemption.
Hosseini’s skill and adept description of a modern day caste system where an invisible division existed between the favored Pashtun and the disadvantaged Hazara may be a tale of Afghanistan, but this abstract and superficial distinction can also be a universal cautionary story about racism, intolerance and bigotry.
Beautifully written and told with compassion, empathy and with a skilled writer’s eye for detail and expression, this can also be a painful book to read. Not for everyone, but for those who can endure what is at times heartbreaking the reward is as magnificent as is this work.
هل تعلم يا صديقى هذا النوع من الروايات التى لا تستطيع الفرار منها ؟ .. كلما حاولت الابتعاد ، تدنو هى منك .. تحاول نسيانها ، فتتدافع كل تفاصيلها فى ذاكرتك ، كما قرأتها . " إنها قصة لا تنسى ، تظل معك لسنوات .. إنها قوية لحد جعل كل ما قرأته بعدها ، ولفترة طويلة ، يبدو بلا طعم " إزابيل ألليندى هل تعرفه ؟ الحقيقة أنك لم تعرفه بعد ولن تعرفه ما لم تقرأ هذه الرائعة .
" لأجلك ألف مرة ومرة " إحساس غريب ينتابنى عند قراءة هذه الجملة، حاله من الفرح، ورغبة فى البكاء .. الحقيقة لا أعرف ما هو شعورى حينها
الجزء الاول فيها فوق الممتاز .. أما الجزء الثانى فلم يكن على نفس القدر ؛ لكنه رائع أيضاً . رواية تقترب من الحقيقة كثيراً .. الحقيقة التى ندركها لكن لا نعِ بتفاصيلها . رواية ذات قيمة أدبية عالية . رواية سيخلدها التاريخ . رواية تظل عالقة فى الاذهان .. فإنها كتبت لتبقى .
After pondering long and hard, I'm going to try now to articulate just what it was about this book that sucked so much, why it has offended me so greatly, and why its popularity has enraged me even more. This book blew so much that I've been inspired to start my own website of book reviews for non-morons. So let us explore why.
First, let's deal with the writer himself. Hosseini's father worked for Western companies while in Afghasnistan. While daddy (who I am guessing, from Hosseini's tragic account of the "fictional" father, never accepts his son) worked and got wealthy, normal Afghans lived their lives. When war broke out, Hosseini's father was offered a safe position in Iran. Just before the revolution in Iran, his father was offered another job in Paris, before finally taking the family to the USA.
That's fine ... some of us are lucky in life. Others are not. What bothers me, though, is that The Kite Runner is so obviously what Hosseini WISHES had happened.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Hassan character really did exist in some form or another. Surely Hosseini had a friend/sometimes playmate/servant who was left behind while Hosseini's powerful family escaped. Surely, Hosseini feels guilty for leaving his homeland by simple privilege while the less fortunate were left behind to fight the Soviets, the Mujahideen, and then the Taliban. And surely, Hosseini wishes he were some flawed hero that didn't simply get lucky. He wishes he'd majored in English, as the protagonist does, and published fiction books instead of becoming a run-of-the-mill doctor; he wishes his father had depended upon him in the USA as happens in the book, instead of getting by just fine as a rich exile with a daddy-doesn't-love-me complex; he wishes he could go back to Afghanistan, risking his life to make ammends for his shitty and cowardly past, instead of remaining a wealthy outsider living happily in the USA.
Hosseini is simply some guy who feels guilty about having escaped what so many of his fellow countrymen couldn't, and he makes up for it in fantasy in a million ways: accepting his fallen father, marrying an "unsuitable" woman, listening to a voice from the past, saving the son of his friend he watched being raped decades before (when he was too selfish to intervene), stomaching the live stoning of a burka-clad woman and her adulterous lover, taking a beating from an old enemy/Taliban child molestor, giving $2000 to a poor smuggler who tries to feed his kids on $3 a week, and saving a 12 year-old from suicide. If Hosseini REALLY did all this, what a hero he would be. Instead, he just makes it up and calles it a novel ... and people devour this shit with tears, labeling it as "inspirational" and "moving."
What really bothers me? Besides all of the contrived and predictable plot twists?? What really disturbs me is that people not only eat this shit up, but they also call it "literature," award it, and give this guy money and license to write another book.
For lack of better words ... WTF?!!!??! Has everyone just gone STUPID?!!?!?
I could go on about how the writing sucks, especially when the author admits to using cliches (elephant in the room, dark as night, thin as a rake, et fucking c) but I won't.
Why? A couple of reasons:
1) If you liked this book, a part of you is sick, and a larger part of you is an idiot
2) I could write a 100-page thesis about how much this book blew monkey chunks, but it's not worth my time
3) This shit sells, and Hosseini, between his stupid book and movie deals, is an even richer man than he was before ... which in the end, makes him smarter than you, me, and everyone else .... He understands the market and fed it back to us. We probably deserve it.
I found this book a failure of courage and imagination -- all the more upsetting for the author's astute sense of detail and wonderful psychological depth. But ask yourself this: if the Taliban are real humans than why are they not represented as such? No doubt we will all love the movie as well.
I started out loving this book. Hosseini is dead on target in his depiction of children's psychology, the non-contractual relationships between master and servant, and in his weaving of the threads between trauma, memory, and denial.
Further, Hosseini captures the feel of life in a Third World country. His depiction of Afghanistan confirms my own short travels in Afghanistan during the 1970s. Indeed, I was becoming ever more excited with the possibility of teaching this book in my new course on Afghanistan. But alas.
The book fails exactly where it most needs to succeed - in the depiction of the Taliban. When we do not have an archive, or the possibility of getting at the facts and narratives of a part of history, fiction can be used creatively and responsibly in order to construct something real. Take, for example, the extraordinary slave narrative written by Guy Endore -- Babouk. After years of research, Endore writes a history of a slave engaged in rebellion just prior to the Haitian Revolution.
Hosseini has the skills but not the courage nor the empathy/sympathy to portray the Taliban as historical, sociological, economic, modern creations. Discounting and trivializing his own skills, he characterizes the Taliban in the easiest way -- as simple, cartoonish, evil. He thereby does nothing to enlighten us. Worse, he panders to a sleepwalking liberal public who happily accept his vision as a seemingly authentic reflection of their own myopia.
Most everyone is satisfied: the U.S. public for having read about a country they destroyed -- feeling all the better at having disposed of evil; the publishers for their timely profit; and Hosseini for having expressed his romantic sense of loss.
At least V.S. Niapaul is honest about his hatred for his own people. Hosseini's twist is less forgivable -- he gives aide to the very people whose malice, neglect, ignorance, and misunderstanding of Afghan people is one key factor in the destruction of this beautiful land and vital people.
A failure of imagination is often the result of a failure in will, in courage, in politics. Hosseini traps himself in the politics of nostalgia.
(For a similar review with a more academic bent, please see:
کف راهروی سرد مدرسه راهنمایی مینشستم و این کتاب رو میخوندم. گاهی کتاب رو انقدر محکم میگرفتم که جای دستهام روی کتاب می وند. اون روزها بیشتر وقتها حس خفه شدن داشتم و مریض هم بودم. کتابها رو مثل یک پتو با خودم میبردم تا آرومم کنند و بین کتاب ریاضی و ادبیات مخفیشون میکردم
یادمه وقتی این کتاب رو میخوندم دیگه اونجا نبودم. با امیر و حسن بازی میکردم و حسادت میکردم و قربانی میشدم و فرار میکردم و جبران میکردم. هیچوقت تجربهی خواندن این داستان رو نمیتونم فراموش کنم و بعد از این همه سال هنوز انگار دیروز تمومش کردم. بعضی کتابها روی وجود آدم برای همیشه خط میاندازند
Guilt The Kite Runner is emotional and immersive, a story that is amplified with its spotlight on society and culture within Afganistan - both past and present. The story relates to the lives of two boys, Amir and Hassan, growing up in Kabul and narrated through the eyes of Amir. There are major societal and lifestyle differences between them but it is the character and principles of the two boys that defines this literary classic. Amir is the son of a rich man, he is educated, refined, and most importantly for social standing, part of the Sunni ruling class. Hassan is the son of the household servant and is illiterate, physically robust, but unfortunately for him, part of the Shia lower class. At a young age, the two boys probably saw each other as play friends, rather than the additional baggage or benefits their class positions bestow on them. However, as children grow up they inherently know where power resides and it doesn't take long for Amir to recognise his family's dominance and Hassan's family servitude.
Following an incident where Hassan suffers physically and psychologically in protecting Amir, it leaves Amir with an unshakeable sense of guilt and culpability that manifests itself in a resentful disposition towards Hassan. Hassan suffers twice for being a better friend. The class system plays its part but the cowardice of Amir clings to his memories and will haunt him throughout his life. The writing flows wonderfully and the story is so imperceptibly built to capture emotions and our sentiments of injustice.
Years after Amir immigrated to the United States he returns with the hope of righting some of these wrongs and seeking redemption with Hassan. Since Amir was last in Afghanistan the Taliban are now in control of the state - including government and religion. The country Amir knew now feels alien as he experiences the emotional horrors and fear of life under the Taliban. They are also dangerous times where the outward display of appearance and loyalty are crucial not to fall foul of the authorities.
This is a really superb book on so many levels – the history, location, religion, social culture, character interaction and it’s ultimately dealing with human emotions of friendship and guilt. I would highly recommend reading this book. In fact, it's a must-read!