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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.

Critic Reviews

  • 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    7,335
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
    366
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    85
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
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  • Overall

Amazing...beautiful...profound

This is the best Audible book I have ever enjoyed. Brilliantly written, read wonderfully by the author, absorbing from start to finish...I loved it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Mixed Review

The first half of the book to me was rather boring. The second half picked up the pace and became more interesting, though still, I nearly gave up and started another book before finishing this one. In all fairness however, I would have to say that the book is very well written. The author fills his pages with rich descriptions of characters and places, which I assume are accurate and authentic in regards to life in Afghanistan. Also, as the narrator, he adds another dimension to the story that I think would be lacking if you read the book instead. In summary, I can't say that I'm sorry I used a book credit for this purchase, but on the other hand, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to fellow listeners unless one is very interested in the various elements of Afghan culture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hilke
  • Chatham, NJ, USA
  • 05-11-05

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Enid, OK, USA
  • 01-30-05

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

  • 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

  • Overall
  • Matissa
  • Hanover, NH, USA
  • 12-22-04

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

  • Overall
  • J.
  • Broadlands, VA, United States
  • 12-06-04

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

  • Overall

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

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Emma
  • 05-09-15

Compelling

I finished this book in 3 days as I could not stop reading/listening to it.
The story is beautifully constructed and tugs at your heart-strings on a number of occasions.
For me the most memorable part has to be the ending as it makes you reflect on all that had happened throughout the story, as if you were a part of it.
Khaled Hosseini is a wonderful author/narrator and his voice fits perfectly to the voice of Amir.
I highly recommend this book, but fair warning: this isn't a 'light' read.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • M.
  • 03-27-15

for you, a thousand times over




loved it! recommended it to others already! Beautiful descriptions. Vivid writing style!definitely a book to talk about and remember.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Carrie
  • 08-02-14

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Crafty jan
  • 05-12-14

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 .

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mr. R. J. King
  • 02-04-14

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.

  • Overall
  • MRM
  • 04-13-13

Disturbing yet heart-warming tale

It was wonderful to have this amazing book read by the author himself. He writes and reads with such sensitivity. He brings to life an era of Afghan history which is now gone. The changing perspectives of the narrator as a child and an adult provide a very human dimension. I became completely absorbed in the character. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

  • Overall
  • MR
  • 04-13-13

Brilliant

The Kite Runner is the first book I have read by Khaled Hosseini and it is without doubt one of the most moving I have ever experienced. At times it had me close to tears (not quite as I am a man...) and on a few occasions laughing out loud. I also downloaded, A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author which was also decent but not on the same level. Not too long in duration. Highly recommended by myself!

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • 04-13-13

Loved it!

This was one of the very first audiobooks that I purchased and from then on I was hooked. The story was beautiful, humbling, frightening and inspiring. An excellent book of modern day Afghanistan providing vivid context of the life and trials of it people.

  • Overall
  • Raj
  • 04-13-13

Loved this

Once I started this, I couldn't stop listening. It's really well written and read. Recommend it to anyone

  • Overall
  • Mrs. K. J. D. CURRIE
  • 04-08-13

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 2 people found this review helpful