The Kite Runner

by

Title: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 371

Genre: Bestseller (September, 2004) – Literary Fiction

Geographical Setting: Afghanistan, Pakistan, California

Time Period: 1970s to the present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman (Baba) in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, Ali. A first-person narrative, Amir tells the story of growing up in Kabul, with his best friend Hassan. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend their days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes their relationship forever. Soon after this event, Hassan and his father, Ali, leave Baba’s home. Amir and his father end up fleeing to America, where Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty towards Hassan. In part, it is these demons and the inability to forgive himself that brings Amir, as an adult, back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. When he receives a phone call from his father’s best friend, Rahim Khan, Amir realizes that returning to Kabul may be the only way he can find forgiveness and perhaps peace of mind.

Subject Headings: Afghanistan, Literary fiction, Kite runner, Taliban, Historical fiction, Boys, Rape, Adoption, Friendship, Deception, Sexual abuse, Betrayal, Abuse, Coming of age, Forgiveness, Kites, Love, Loyalty, Multiculturalism, Muslim, Survival, Religion, Redemption, Relationships, Tragedy, War, Kabul, Abandonment, Family, Alienation, Arabic, Disability, Family, Violence, The 1970s

Appeal: Well-told, compelling, eye-opening, emotional, honest, tragic, funny, hopeful, heartfelt, extraordinary, insightful, intriguing, enlightening

Three terms that best describe this book: Compelling, Heartrending, Thought-provoking

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

House of Sand and Fog (1999) by Andre Dubus Kathy is living alone in the modest California bungalow she inherited from her father and has few material or emotional resources upon which to draw when a pair of sheriff’s deputies evict her. It’s all a mistake, but before Kathy can straighten things out, Colonel Behrani, an exiled Iranian air force officer forced to work menial jobs to support his family, snaps up her home at auction for a third of its value, moves in, and prepares to resell it at a profit. The turmoil and anguish that Kathy, the Colonel, and his family go through make this a heart-wrenching, realistic story.

The Warlord’s Son (2004) by Dan Fesperman – A tale of betrayal, brutality, and courage, Skelly (aka Stan Kelly), is a three times-married, journalistic warhorse, a veteran of hot spots from Managua to Sarajevo to the Kuwaiti deserts. Suffering burnout, he returns to the U.S., but “three years of the suburbs of the Midwest had left [him] forgetful of past lessons.” Now in Pakistan, he plans to cross the border into post-9/11 Afghanistan in hopes of a career-crowning story.

The Mulberry Empire (2002) by Philip Hensher — In 1839, about 50,000 British troops entered Afghanistan to replace the amir with someone more palatable to the Empire. In this fictionalized account, Burnes, a British explorer who ventures into the capital city of Kabul and befriends the soon-to-be-ousted Amir Dost Mohammed Khan. There are a large cast of characters that include Russians, Afghans, emperors, merchants, journalists, serfs, soldiers, expatriates, army wives, and Bella Garraway, the woman whom Burnes, the protagonist, briefly loves. After their affair, Burnes returns to Afghanistan by way of India. The numerous characters, plot lines, and time shifts make the events of this story appear timeless.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007) by Ishmael Beah Beah lived with his family in the village of Mogbwemo until the civil war reached their area in 1991. All members of Beah’s immediate family were killed, and his village destroyed. In 2007, Beah’s memoir, was published, recounting the story of how Beah was forced to go into hiding along with several other young boys after their villages were attacked by the RUF (Revolutionary United Front). Eventually, at the age of thirteen, Beah was forced to become a soldier for the Sierra Leonean army. After nearly three years of fighting, Beah was rescued by UNICEF and sent to a rehabilitation center in Freetown.

One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War (2007) by Charles London — London speaks with child soldiers from around the world, recounting their stories and helping to raise awareness of the estimated 300,000 child soldiers across the world. This book explores the world of refugee children and compiles stories and drawings of children from Burma, Congo, Kosovo, Sudan, and Rwanda to reveal how they understand and have been shaped by the conflicts surrounding them. As a 21-year-old research associate for Refugees International, young-adult advocate London began his five-year immersion in the international world of refugee youth and child militia in East Africa, Thailand and the Balkans, barely scratching the surface of the estimated 20 million uprooted refugee children worldwide.

They Poured Fire on Us From The Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan (2005) by Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, Benjamin Ajak ; with Judy A. Bernstein. Raised by Sudan’s Dinka tribe, the Deng brothers and their cousin Benjamin were all under the age of seven when they left their homes after terrifying attacks on their villages during the Sudanese civil war. In 2001, the three were relocated to the U.S. from Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp as part of an international refugee relief program. Arriving in this country, they immediately began to fill composition books with the memoirs of chaos and culture shock collected here.

Name: Maurine

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