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The Kite Runner | [Khaled Hosseini]

The Kite Runner

Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: We've learned the hard way that authors don't always make great narrators, but Khaled Hosseini is remarkably gifted in both roles. I have listened to the The Kite Runner again and again to be transported to Hosseini's Afghanistan and can appreciate it all the more because of his authentic pronunciations. —Diana Dapito

Publisher's Summary

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable and beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant, is a Hazara - a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.

The Kite Runner is a novel about friendship and betrayal, and about the price of loyalty. It is about the bonds between fathers and sons, and the power of fathers over sons - their love, their sacrifices, and their lies. Written against a backdrop of history that has not been told in fiction before, The Kite Runner describes the rich culture and beauty of a land in the process of being destroyed. But through the devastation, Khaled Hosseini offers hope for redemption.

©2003 Khaled Hosseini; (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All Rights Reserved. AUDIOWORKS. is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division. Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Alex Award Winner, 2004

"A beautiful novel...ranks among the best-written and most provocative stories of the year." (The Denver Post)
"Powerful first novel...tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (6562 )
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4.5 (1880 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Hilke Chatham, NJ, USA 05-11-05
    Hilke Chatham, NJ, USA 05-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
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    "Absolutely captivating"

    This is a very powerful and touching story of friendship. It is also about loyalty and betrayal. It's written beautifully and narrated just as well. Absolutely captivating--you will love this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol T. Carr Lake Monticello, VA 05-04-05
    Carol T. Carr Lake Monticello, VA 05-04-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    212
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
    Overall
    "High Praise"

    In this remarkable book, Hosseini has created faces we can recognize in the hundreds of images of the war in Afghanistan that we've all seen in our newspapers and on our televisions. His portrayal of characters whose lives have been thrown into total upheaval, who have had to face the challenges of adulthood while still children, who are thrown into situations for which they have no training or skill and who still manage to survive is incredibly well-done. The people he creates are truly alive; you cry and bleed with them. And you hope with them too.

    I agree with some critics that there are some rough edges arising from this being a first novel, and there may be some convenient coincidences to bring the book to its conclusion. But the book is at heart a comparison of life as the fantasies that we create and life as the harsh realities we cannot avoid and must learn to deal with. The author's strong use of first person present tense is a powerful tool he uses in creating the tension of this underlying theme of reality vs. unreality. All this is painted with a broad brush of the Afghan culture -- it's folk tales, poetry, religion, native symbolism, all peppered with a bit of Afghan "recklessness" and whimsy -- that leaves one very curious to learn more about these people. It is a notable book from that perspective alone.

    The author as reader was good; he brought authenticity and made it a personal experience. It is hard to keep clear in one's mind that this is fiction.

    I highly recommend this book as an adventure into a cultural experience that most of us will never know, and to meet people who are well worth knowing, if only to discover those bits of humanity that are common to us all no matter how diverse our lives may be.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tierney USA 04-08-05
    Tierney USA 04-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Literary Masterpiece"

    My friends and I read this book for our book group. While everyone else read the paper book, I was fortunate to be able to listen to the book, read by the author. It was incredible to listen to the author read the story and to hear the correct pronunciation of all the places and names. The story seems more real because a person with the appropriate accent read the story and it sounded like a first person narration of their life. The story itself is spectacular. Difficult at times to listen to the utter cruelity, class systems and destruction of a country and it's people. The journey is worthwhile and the book is deeply, deeply moving. Some scenes are so incredibly beautiful they took my breath away for a moment. It is comparable to a great work by John Steinbeck or Ernest Hemingway. It's actually a 6 star book. What a gift the author has given readers by writing this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Enid, OK, USA 01-30-05
    Robert Enid, OK, USA 01-30-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "What a great story!"

    If you only read or listen to one piece of fiction this year, it should be this book. You know that feeling you get when you read a powerful story? Well... I had that feeling when I listened to this book. The author does a wonderful job presenting his work. I will be telling all my literaturephile friends about this novel. This novel contains two of the most important elements of a novel. The authors has created compelling characters, and the protagonist/narrator embarks upon a life changing journey.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Lafayette, CA, USA 01-24-05
    Theresa Lafayette, CA, USA 01-24-05 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    3
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    5
    0
    Overall
    "A good"

    I have found some stories difficult to follow without being able to see the written word. The Kiterunner, however,is a great story to hear. I'll confess though, being a visual learner, I had to pick up a copy and read the first chapter in a boookstore just to cement the names in my head. I will look forward to listening to more of Khaled Hosseini's great stories in the future. I highly recommend this as an audio book. A great listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matissa Hanover, NH, USA 12-22-04
    Matissa Hanover, NH, USA 12-22-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "I really enjoyed it"

    After reading the other reviews of this book, I was prepared to really hate the main character and squirm through the first part of the book (I'm the kind of person who changes the channel on TV when things become too awkward or annoying). Perhaps because I was prepared for it, I didn't didn't find the character nearly as intolerable as the other listeners. I found it to be an interesting portrayal of a child's self-centered world. His behavior is not admirable, but it's also not unrealistic. I found the last third of the book a little overly-dramatic, but certainly an interesting read. Overall, I greatly appreciated the view this book provided into life in Afghanistan in the 1970s (at least among the upper-class), Afghani culture, the impact of the many wars and the Taliban on the country, and the experience of Afghani immigrants in the US. The author's reading of the book provided an even richer context.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Broadlands, VA, United States 12-06-04
    J. Broadlands, VA, United States 12-06-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    317
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    273
    97
    FOLLOWERS
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    11
    1
    Overall
    "Amazing"

    I've been listening to books at Audible since August 2004 This is, without a doubt, one of the very BEST books I've heard. I couldn't put it down and I highly recommend it to everyone. I'm looking forward to his next book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ira United States 04-28-04
    Ira United States 04-28-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
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    0
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    "Makes you angry but riveting"

    Although it is long, includes an uncountable number of scenes and settings, and is based on a character who can be so self-absorbed that it makes your blood boil at times in anger and frustration, it all fits together quite well. I am recommending this to my book club.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marintha Calgary, AB, Canada 05-01-08
    Marintha Calgary, AB, Canada 05-01-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Relevant, but overrated"

    The first half of this book was excellent. About the point where the main character, Amir, returns to Afghanistan, however, it starts to fall apart. The remarkable character development which so powerfully moved the first half of the book disappears in favour of blatant manipulation of characters. A close family friend, for example, is reduced to nothing more than a plot device, who conveniently disappears when he is no longer needed.

    This could almost be pardoned, amid the excitement in that part of the book (it's really quite thrilling), except that, after climax & denouement, Hosseini starts in on another plot line, which manages to feel forced, even though it is realistic. Then, as though, realizing that it's just not working, there is a deus ex machina fix, before a rather slow, melancholy "there is no such thing as a fairy-tale ending" wraps things up.

    It *is* his first effort though, and, assuming his editors wake up a bit, I have high hopes for "A Thousand Splendid Suns."

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 01-13-08
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 01-13-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    77
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    368
    97
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "A big disappointment"

    A good plot, detailed description but lacking in enthusiasm, suspense and humor. Some readers found the book to drag on for the first couple hours. I found it to drag on for about 7 hours. I almost gave up at the end of part one but decided to finish it. Part two did improve and the writer’s skill did come out and he somewhat redeemed himself and the book. I found benefit in the books giving me some cultural education which helps me understand the Afghan people better. I need a book like this to provide me with some comic relief, something funny to break up the discouragement. I don’t understand why so many people loved this book; I did not.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 41-50 of 479 results PREVIOUS145648NEXT
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  • Laura
    bere regis, DORSET, United Kingdom
    7/2/05
    Overall
    "Touching and gripping."

    Excellent; a window on another world as well as a touching story of love, devotion and atonement. I highly recommend this book.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Lynne
    ArgentonFrance
    3/6/07
    Overall
    "Wonderfully Poignant"

    This a beautifully written poignant story of unconditional love during turbulent times in Afghanistan and of how an adolescent boy's jealousy has long and devastating repercussions. This book is a journey of emotions from the first page to the last.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Karen
    HAYLING ISLAND, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Great story - tissues needed for lots of tears!"

    A great story which takes the reader through a myriad of emotions - be prepared for tears!



    I loved the twists and turns of the story - most of which I could never have predicted.



    Without wanting to, I always had great sympathy for the central character - his misdemeanours were obviously key to the plot and had such devastating effects and yet, I felt so sorry for him.



    The descriptions of the characters and scenery was powerful and deep so it made them very believable, and I thought that the story may have been autobiographical until I checked!



    Well written and powerful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah J
    Kent.UK
    1/15/11
    Overall
    "Not as good as the hype."

    Before listening to this I had heard many rave reviews of the book and therefore began to listen with high expectations. However, I found the story very disappointing, mainly due to the lack of affection I felt for the main character. He seemed to be amoral and self-centred, which resulted in me not really caring what happened to him. Although the book is well written, I found that my lack of connection with the main character meant that I had to force myself to listen to the whole book. I ended up being relieved when it was over, and confused about what everyone else seems to love about this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paul & Susy
    London United Kingdom
    5/17/08
    Overall
    "Painted and insightful picture of Afghanistan"

    It's a story of honour, regret and redemption; and two families divided by ethnic prejudice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine
    angus, United Kingdom
    3/25/08
    Overall
    "stunningly good"

    I don't usually read books about war and strife preferring to be entertained, but came across this book because of all the hype and thought I would give it a go. I was hooked from the beginning - it is a hauntingly good book and although it is set in troubling times it looks at the very real human problems that happen to individuals caught up in uneasy times. I listened all the way through in one day, and then went straight on to download his next book. Buy it - you certainly won't be disappointed

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lesley
    Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
    8/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow, what a story!"

    I loved this book it gave a new insight into the troubles of Afghanistan, brutal in parts, made me flinch but for all that a great tale of love, betrayal & consequence. Didn't want it to end & the author Khaled Hosseini was a brilliant narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kindle Customer
    uk
    8/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning"
    Where does The Kite Runner rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is the best audio book I have ever heard, and is easily in the top 10 books I've come across in my 47 years


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The lead character is beautifully flawed. The characters are real, you can feel them, you can smell them and you can relate to their humanity.


    Have you listened to any of Khaled Hosseini’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    This is the first book I've heard the author perform but I will listen to anything he does in the future and read everything he writes.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to the whole book in a day and a half! I wanted to eek it out but I could. I will actually read it at some point in the future, it is that good.


    Any additional comments?

    Beautiful and immense in it's humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crafty jan
    5/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A life enhancing experience in Reading this bookI"
    What did you like most about The Kite Runner?

    I actually feel ashamed of the really stereo type opinion I had of Afganastan and it's people before reading this book . It really opened my eyes to the fact that away from all the horrors of the war and terrorism , the ordinary people are just like us and love their families .


    What did you like best about this story?

    The graphic descriptions of the feelings and emotions of the main character , and how one seemingly random incident can colour and affect the rest of your life .


    Which character – as performed by Khaled Hosseini – was your favourite?

    I felt in all honesty that all the main characters carried equal weight in the story , at different times in the life of the main character .


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The book had a real emotional effect on me in that I finished the story wishing I could know what happened next . Clearly not just a happy ending , but an idea of how the horrors of the war would be affecting the next generation .


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent read and I would highly recommend it , but be prepared to have some of possibly preconceived ideas on the country and it's people overturned .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. R. J. King
    Cambridge, UK
    2/4/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great book"

    This is a great book; a brilliant story. Sci-Fi is my first love, but The Kite Runner slots effortlessly into my top-five. I feel like I've been to Afghanistan , admired Baba and been terrified of Assef. I want to sit on top of the hill and eat pomegranates and run kites.
    This is, without doubt, one the best books I've ever read. There's nothing spare. Every word adds to the story, and I'm sorry I finished it today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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