Summary of The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner is a great work of fiction by old Afghan born and physician Khaled Hosseini.  This novel, Hosseini’s was his very first and was released in 2003.  His book bristles with controversy as he was charged with the confusing of the Western ability to understand the Taliban.  It is a book that has often been removed from libraries, such is the controversy about it.

Despite of, or more likely because of the controversy, The Kite Runner became an international hit, and the novel was a best seller for over one hundred weeks.  A large number of them at No.1.

So to a The Kite Runner summary; A  boy called Amir  comes from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul in Afghanistan, he has a friend called Hassan, the Hazara servant of his father.

The backdrop to the novel is the timeline from the demise of the Afghan monarchy, through the invasion by the Soviet Union,  to the mass exit of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and ultimately, the steady rise to power of the dreaded Taliban regime.

Although The Kite Runner is a work of fiction, it is authentically based upon genuine political and historical events, although the post Soviet era Kabul described in the novel was based upon Hosseini’s research.

In terms of structure, The Kite Runner divides itself into three sections.  The book concerns itself with memories of Afghanistan prior to conflicts, difficulty in attempting to adjust to the culture of the United States, and finally returning to a new kind of Afghanistan controlled by the brutal regimen of the Taliban.

Essentially the novel concerns itself with a carefree life before and a more difficult life after the cataclysmic events in Afghanistan.  The Kite Runner is a riveting and authentic story of human emotions including love, betrayal, and ultimate redemption. As a result, the book gained both positive praise and controversy from the outset.

The Kite Runner became a New York Times Bestseller shortly after it was published in 2003.  The book has since been published in thirty-eight different countries, but is still not published or allowed to be read in Afghanistan.

Kite Runner reviews have heaped praise on the book for the revealing depth of intimate examination of relationships inside the difficult and fast changing environment of Afghanistan.

However some Kite Runner reviews were critical of the way in which the central characters, Amir and Assef link up once again following the harrowing course of events. It was described by one critic as being ”more suited to a folk tale”.  Another critic likened it to the plot of a “B movie.”

The period in which the book was set corresponds in part to some of the time that Hosseini himself was in Afghanistan.  He explained that he did notset out to create awareness of the destruction caused in Afghanistan; but he did want the world to understand what happened there over the past 30years, because Afghanistan was once a nation at peace with itself.

There are three central characters in the book:

Amir, a Pashtun who is the narrator of the novel. Born in 1963, his mother dies giving birth to him.  As a child, Amir would love to indulge in story telling Rahim Khan urges him to become an author.  When Amir reaches 18 years of age, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan and he and his father flee to America. Amir chases his dream of being a writer.

Hassan is Amir’s closest childhood friend. With his China doll countenance, green eyes, and a harelip, as the book progresses it is revealed that Hassan is the son of Baba and Sanaubar, This is a fact unknown to Hassan while he is alive.  In the book, Hassan is executed by the Taliban for refusing to give up Amir’s property.

Assef is the antagonist of the story. of the novel. As the son of an Afghan father and a German mother he is of mixed origin.  While in his teens he is he is a neighborhood bully and is described as a “sociopath” by Amir. In the story he rapes Hassan as revenge against Amir.


John Grant is a blogger for GradeSaver, who loves to write articles on reading, literature, and education.

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