The Kite Runner The Kite Runner discussion

a book of fiction that brings war to life

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message 1: by Mads P. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mads P. Very deeply illustrates the hardship of war and having to leave the life you knew behind to live in a safe place. I was moved to tears by this book....excellent read.

message 2: by Ritika (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ritika mittal his fiction is such that u actually land up reading his fiction as facts and they haunt u even after u have finished reading the book days ago!!! its so briliantly concieved and it becomes so much a part of ur memory and experience that with every mention of disasters of war... u feel the same chill run down ur spine as u felt while reading this book!!

message 3: by Chimene (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chimene I really enjoyed this book and the premise how one incident can shape and mold your future in ways you never imagined. The subject matter was difficult but the characters were interesting and real. I highly recommend this book.

message 4: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Katie was anyone else really annoyed by this book? I read it awhile ago but still think about how frustrating the main character is. It was an interesting book that explored a world I know little about but man, I really wanted to slap that little kid!

message 5: by Dave Christopher (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dave Christopher Yeah, Katie, this book really ended up making me roll my eyes. Started out promisingly, but then ended up in movie-of-the-week territory. Bad book that's passing as "literature" because of its subject matter.

message 6: by Dave (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dave I thought the same thing, Dave. I like the first half of the book, but then the convenient plot points and literary clichés became too much. If it weren't for the fact that this book takes place in Afganistan, more people would find it to be a medicore book.

message 7: by Stacy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stacy I actually loved this book, and could not wait to read A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. The latter ended up being my favorite of the two (and far superior). I hope those of you who read Kite and didn't love it still decide to give SUNS a try.

message 8: by Diane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Diane Stacy, I loved Kite Runner also (althought parts of it were very disturbing). I have A Thousand Spendid Suns on my "to read" shelf.

message 9: by Khadijah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Khadijah My theory of why Hosseini wrote the book: People get lost in their cultures.

I think the whole literary cliche was a perfect example of how Amir and others got lost in the American culture as others throughout the story were getting lost in the different cultures that carved out their characters.

I felt like parts of the story were glazed over but I think it was done on purpose. I loved the book...but it really made me think...

message 10: by Lisa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Moved to tears? I found myself sobbing. This book is an amazing lesson about what people who are selfish and self involved can learn from a person that is true to themself and their place in life.

message 11: by Sha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sha yes lisa, i agree, this book make my tears drop without i relized, make me cry, it's a very good book, deeply touching, tells about friendship, reationship between father and son, unconditional love and loyalty.

message 12: by L.J. (new)

L.J. Have to agree with Katie and Dave on this one, I was really enjoying this book until one chapter. The revelation of the bad Taliban guy had me wanting to stop reading and from that point I am having a really difficult time finishing this silly story. I wished the book focused more on the Afghan culture and how the fall of the king, the conflict of the Soviet invasion and then the sudden rise of the Taliban influenced the thoughts and politics of the current country and people, that is the only truly interesting part of this overrated book. He is such a talented writer in style but the plot is weak and way too contrived.

Shula I guess I can see how it seems contrieved. I didn't interpret it that way. When we find out who the Taliban molester is, I see it as his telling us, this is the kind of monster we are dealing with.

message 14: by Holly (last edited Jan 11, 2008 09:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Holly A lot of people have made this out the be an Afghan story... and yes it deals with the war, culture, etc. but that's more a backdrop. I really felt this was much more a human story. Really, the heart of this story could be translated to any two boys, pulled apart by war, anywhere in the world. (The second book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is much more an Afghan-centric story.)

(warning: spoilers)
And the war is only an echo to the main character's struggle. This is much more a story of how powerfully a single moment can shape, color and effect the rest of our lives. In a very literal way, Amir's actual journey parallels his emotional journey. There is a violent invasion, a retreat, long years spent in exile feeling alienated... and at long last a return, and "a way to be good again". I think the ending is meant to be symbolic of Amir's facing the demons of his past, and rescuing his own lost childhood. And the kite is the symbolism of Hassan's spirit... bright, flying, innocent, and connected.

Shula I completely agree, Holly. And each character, good or bad, reminds me of people I know in my own life. It just so happens that some of them live in an upsidedown world of chaotic insanity where the decision makers are the worst most insecure mego-manical people you can imagine. I appreciate the way he indoctrinates us to his view of his homeland in its current form. He is no apologist for Afghanistan in its current state. He is rather, as you say, a humanist showing us the beauty of his childhood memories, and as it happens the trajedy of the path his homeland took.

message 16: by MSW (new) - rated it 2 stars

MSW Mwa. Some decent writing in between, but overall plot line worthy of an early afternoon soap ? Some bits felt like Gabriel Garcia Marquez lite. Maybe I am old & bitter & twisted but was unmoved

message 17: by Cara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cara Thenot Katie,

I'm reacting the same way you did as I read this book. I'm only half-way through and I am forcing myself to continue reading in hopes that I will eventually gain a little more sympathy for the main character and that he finds redemption. I'm afraid that's not going to happen based on some of the reviews on this site. I don't mind a "evil" main character...but I need to at least like his/her devilish ways. Not so with this guy.

message 18: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth I, too, inwardly groaned when we found out who the Taliban leader was. It seemed too contrived and convienent. It's one thing that really bothered me about a book I otherwise enjoyed. I've been thinking about it since I finished the book last night and I've come to this conclusion: perhaps Hosseini was using this neighborhood bully to show what the Taliban truly is: a large contingent of bullies using religion as an excuse to exert their power.

I thought Amir (narrator) was an interesting character. He fully acknowledges his cowardice and you can even forgive him not helping Hassan during the rape scene. He's after all a boy and even with his intervention the two boys would have been outnumbered. But it's the second betrayal causing Hassan and Ali to leave that's the most heinous.

Even with the overly convienent plot points in the second third of the book, I think the basic theme of the long-term consequences of decisions is well done. I was very relieved that the author didn't, as I feared he might, wrap the book up with a really happy ending: the childless couple take the orphan home to America and now everyone's fulfilled. I thought the ending was poignant.

George Well, the book isn't everything one could wish for, but obviously any book that continues to draw commentary here over an extended period has more than a little something going for it. His second novel is more polished but I think this one is more evocative and truer to its source.

Fatimah the novel was agreat one .The language was easy and very emotional

message 21: by Zara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zara Rehman Do you have any idea what 'literature" is? I have read books with much deeper subjec matters but subject matter alone does not make a good book.

Fatimah yes sure i know

it is our life we read coz we find life and society in literatuer. we have to go deep in our reading to know more also we need any kind of criiticism to analayez the message

Norman I am curious to know if anyone else was annoyed by Hosseini's tendency to intrude into the narrative by adding unnecessary comments like, 'He would not see the boy smile for another 6 years...' or 'It would not be the last time he would...' (something to that effect - I don't have the book with me but I distinctly recall this type of line thrown in as if it needed to be pointed out...rather than simply developed as part of the tale. It happened on more than one occasion, and though overall I enjoyed The Kite Runner, I wish he could have just told the story from Amir's limited point of view.

Currently I'm reading The Book Thief and have noted a similar tendency for the narrator (in this case, Death) to expound his knowledge of the future. Whatever happened to the subtleties of foreshadowing and enough respect for the readers to let them discover connections on their own?

Fatimah hi yeas i'v noticed that he keep direct our attention to that and interprets things which is sothing bad as if we can't see that by ourself yet i love his simplisity and his analisis of the religious issues

message 25: by David (last edited Mar 22, 2008 08:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

I disagree with the premise of this thread. War is certainly a backdrop in The Kite Runner, but this is not a war story, or a book that "brings war to life." I guess one could argue that it's a book about Afghan culture, but that's not accurate either -- it's a much more universally human story of friendship, growth, love, choices, betrayal, loyalty, and redemption.

If the reader understands the work as a fictional account of individual human interactions, emotions, and motives, The Kite Runner will be recognized as beautiful and moving literature.

message 26: by JD (new) - rated it 5 stars

JD Brazil The sure are a lot of people that want to shit all over this book. People want a character that is completely virtuous or completely shamefull. Here we have a character, that at times, does the right thing, but most of the time acts as a coward. Is it possible to love and dispise this guy all at the same time? Not for some. It is easier for people to hate on him because that distances themselves from his shame, but that does not make his character more believable.

I am not willing to say that everyone who didn't like the book has this problem--I do see some valid points made above me--but it just seems too easy to shit on the book rather than to recognize our own human qualities painted on someone else.

Diana I just finished the novel as well, and was moved at the end despite myself. However, I was also disappointed with the heavy-handed style, both in foreshadowing and analysis, and with the predictability of the plot. It is, to me, clearly a first novel, and I agree that the novel benefitted from its timing and setting in Afganistan. That is not to say I hated the book; it just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be, given its praise.

I really enjoy reading threads about books I have just read, and following other people's ideas and reactions, whether I agree with them or not. I find it jarring and sad when people become insulting and attack the writers of comments personally, or attack their thoughts, rather than just disagreeing with them. A discussion allows for polite disagreements, does it not?

message 28: by Ross (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ross Bussell I am currently reading What is the What by Dave Eggers, and oddly enough have found myself drawing similarities between it and Kite Runner. I think these stories are important to hear, of conflict in Iran, Sudan, or wherever else, but in response to the comments that claim that the title chracters could basically be cut and pasted into other war conflict stories, it's true. Needless to say, Kite Runner was an amazing story, and there is much to learn about other cultures through these types of stories.

Jessica I enjoyed this story very much. I admit that I was not to thrilled with the author's choice for the Taliban leader either. It seemed a little far fetched to me. I think the author could have portrayed the same message of redemeption had the leader been someone else.

However, for me, it did not draw too much away from the story. I agree with those who claimed this was a human story. It delt with human emotions and themes while giving us a small glimpse at the Afghan culture. I think this book does a very good job of giving us a feel for life in a country that has a lot of turmoil. I felt the end was a little rushed, but overall I came away with a very good feeling from this book. I thought he ended it beautifully. It was neither sad nor happy ending. It just was.

Komal Although I really enjoyed reading the book, I agree that the main character was very annoying. He acknowledged his cowardice and did not do anything to overcome it. He lost his best friend because of that. The most touching part of the book, according to me is when Amir blames Hassan for stealing and he accepts that he did it. That a little boy can show so much bravery is absolutely touching. Also, the remorse that Amir felt after that could be related to quite well.

Jennifer W I just finished the book and I enjoyed it very much. Innitially, I too felt that having Assef (the bully) be the Taliban bad guy was a bit contrived, until I put it in context with everything else that occurs throughout the novel. Repeatedly, events occur in which the past plays a huge role in what happens to Amir. He is disapointed in his father's inability to be the father he wants and needs, then he cannot biologically become a father himself, then he gets the chance to be a father, and he disappoints Sohrab. He fails to do anything against the abuses delivered to him and Hassan (even before the rape), and continues to fail to do anything to save Hassan, continues to fail even the memory of their friendship, and he gets his chance to face his old bully and is beaten by him again. It is Sohrab, the son, who fulfils what Hassan threatened 20 some years earlier, to make Assef one-eyed. At that moment for me, the book took on an almost fairy tale quality, and I enjoyed it for it.
As for if Amir was a good protagonist, I'm not sure. Several times I thought the story would be better told from Hassan's POV, and that would have included a lot more of the turmoil of the country, I think. Many times in the story, I wondered what Hassan was thinking, and I wish he had a voice, but that is part of the point, too.

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