The Kite Runner Summary

The Kite Runner Summary - What an excellent novel this is for a Book Club; there is so much to discuss. It has everything: history, culture, contrasts, relationships  & communication or lack of it

What a wonderful book!

It is about people & the way they behave in certain circumstances.

We learn about  kindness & unkindness, jealousy, generosity, secrets, happiness & sadness as well as of evil, despotism & barbarity.

And above all, we learn about the strong need for parental approval & the quest for atonement.

The Plot

The Kite Runner Summary

The plot is relatively simple. Two youngsters, Amir & Hassan grow up together as good friends in Kabul. After a successful kite competition, an incident occurs in their young lives which is to have a lasting effect, particularly on Amir's life.

Soon, when the Communists invade Afghanistan, Amir & his father, an outspoken man, flee to California where the story opens before being told retrospectively.  Much later, after marrying his wife & the death of his father, Amir is asked to return to Kabul to "become good again". 

He returns to his home city, which has been ravaged by war under the Communists & then the Taliban, & embarks on an amazing act of atonement.


Themes

The Kite Runner Summary

Upbringing, Roots & Parental Approval:
Our lives are strongly shaped  by our roots & the way we are brought up. And so it is with Amir. He works hard to win the approval of his father but feels that he fails to do so. Instead, his friend Hassan ticks all the right boxes in Amir's eyes.

His father, Baba even pays for surgery on Hassan's  hare lip. All this leads to an intense jealousy throughout his young life & an anxiety when around his father, well shown through the kite race. 
Yet his father brings him up with seemingly good values, nurturing him & loving him in his own way. Above all, he teaches him that the worst sin is theft.

History & Culture:
Just as we are shaped by our roots so we are shaped by our history & our culture. We learn about the caravan routes into Kabul, the games the children played particularly the kite flying, the influx of American films, attacks by foreign powers etc. All help to give us a deeper understanding of the story & the way characters behave.

Communication & Secrets:
As in many novels, these two play an important part, leading to some of the things that go wrong. The whole story revolves round a lack of communication & a huge secret which has an effect on the whole story.

Atonement:
Atonement is probably the most important theme of the novel but this reader can't give away anything else!

Weaknesses:
1. Baba stresses the wickedness of telling lies yet he tells the biggest lie of all.
2. Would Arif & Sohrab have been able to get away from Kabul & out of the country considering the situation.
3. Arif & his wife can't  have children, thus making way for his nephew to become their "son."

Book Club Questions

The Kite Runner Summary

For Book Club Questions, go to

Kite Runner Book Club Question



Like?

The Kite Runner Summary

Our book club loved this book, giving it a 9/10. A very high score indeed! The discussions were rich and interesting and we even went to see the film together as a follow up.

It is in line with the book & the backcloth of Kabul & Afghanistan is stunning but it doesn't convey the tensions, the jealousy, the horror of war etc as the book does. The written word is far more powerful.

We enjoyed the contrasts too. The peaceful life in America, in California, contrasts with war torn Kabul with the stresses & horrors of life there. There are also contrasts in the lives of the very comfortable family of Baba & Amir & those of Ali & Hassan. The latter are Hazaras who are seen as inferior which will play a significant  part in the story.

This has to rate as one of the best book club discussions we have had. Read this excellent book & enjoy the discussions which will surely follow.

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