The Kite Runner Summary – Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner Summary - Khaled Hosseini
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The Kite Runner is the debut novel of Afghan-born American author Khaled Hosseini. In The Kite Runner, themes of friendship, camaraderie, love, betrayal, and peace are explored. Published in 2003, the book reached number one on The New York Times bestseller list.

Summary Of The Kite Runner

Amir recalls an event from twenty-six years ago that shaped him when he was a child in Afghanistan. Before the event, he lived with his father Baba in a beautiful house in Kabul. They had two servants, Ali and his son Hassan, who were from the ethnic minority group called Hazaras. Rahim Khan, Baba’s close friend, was often around. On the day the king of Afghanistan was overthrown, things started to change. One day, while Amir and Hassan were playing, they encountered three boys, Assef, Wali, and Kamal. Assef threatened to beat Amir for hanging out with a Hazara, but Hassan used his slingshot to fend him off.

“The Kite Runner” jumps to the winter when the kite-flying tournament takes place. The children cover their kite strings with glass and battle until they manage to cut the opponent’s kite string. When a kite is lost, the children chase and retrieve it, a game called kite running. After winning the tournament, Amir goes looking for the losing kite, and Hassan sets out to find it.

Amir searches for him and finds Hassan trapped at the end of an alley with his pants down. While Wali and Kamal hold him, Assef rapes him. Amir runs away, and when Hassan emerges with the kite, Amir pretends not to know what happened. Afterward, Amir and Hassan drift apart. Overwhelmed with guilt, Amir decides that either he or Hassan must leave. He plants money and a watches under Hassan’s pillow and tells Baba that Hassan stole them. Hassan confesses, but he didn’t do it. Soon after, Ali and Hassan move away.

“The Kite Runner” shifts to March 1981. Baba and Amir are in the back of a truck fleeing Kabul, which has been occupied by the Soviets and turned into a war zone. After a hellish journey, they arrive in Pakistan. Two years later, Baba and Amir live in Fremont, California. Baba works at a gas station while Amir finishes high school and goes to college. They sell things at a flea market on Sundays, where Baba sees an old friend, General Taheri.

Amir takes an interest in General Taheri’s daughter, Soraya. When Amir finally starts talking to her, General Taheri catches them and tells him things must be done properly. Shortly after, Baba is diagnosed with lung cancer. Amir asks Baba if he can marry Soraya, and General Taheri accepts. They rush the wedding due to Baba’s failing health, and Baba dies a month later. Amir and Soraya try unsuccessfully to have a baby as they pursue writing careers.

Amir receives a call from Rahim Khan, who is ill and wants to see Amir in Pakistan. They meet a week later, and Rahim Khan tells him about the devastation in Kabul. He says things got worse after the Soviets left forcibly. He wants Amir to do him a favor, but first, he needs to tell him something about Hassan. When Baba and Amir left Afghanistan, Rahim Khan watched their house.

Feeling lonely and old, he decided to find Hassan. He persuaded Hassan and his wife Farzana to return to Kabul. Farzana and Hassan eventually had a son, Sohrab. A few years later, Rahim Khan went to Pakistan for medical treatment but received a call from a neighbor in the Kabul. The Taliban had gone to Baba’s house and shot Hassan and Farzana, sending Sohrab to an orphanage.

Rahim Khan wants Amir to go to Kabul, find Sohrab, and bring him to Pakistan, taking him to a place where a couple can look after him. He tells Amir that Baba was Hassan’s father, and Amir agrees. In Afghanistan, Amir finds the orphanage where Sohrab should be, but he’s not there. The orphanage director says a Taliban officially took Sohrab a month ago. If Amir wants to find the official, he’ll be at the stadium during the next day’s soccer match. Amir goes to the game, and during halftime, the Taliban stone a man and a woman to death. Through a Taliban guard, Amir arranges a meeting with the official.

When they meet, Amir tells the official he’s looking for a child named Sohrab and asks him to bring the child. Sohrab wears a blue silk outfit and uses mascara, making him look more feminine and suggesting he’s been sexually abused by men. The official says something, and quickly Amir realizes the official is Assef. Assef says he wants to finish some unfinished business.

Assef beats Amir with brass knuckles, breaking his ribs and cutting his lip. Sohrab threatens him with a slingshot, and when Assef attacks him, Sohrab shoots him in the eye, allowing Amir and Sohrab to escape. While recovering in the hospital, Amir learns there’s no couple to take care of Sohrab. He tells Sohrab he can come to the United States with him.

The adoption authorities tell Amir that it is impossible to adopt Sohrab because they cannot prove that Sohrab’s parents are deceased, and Amir tells Sohrab that he may have to go back to an orphanage. Amir and Soraya find a way to bring Sohrab to the United States, but before telling Sohrab, he tries to commit suicide. He survives but remains completely silent.

Even after bringing Sohrab to California, he continues to be withdrawn. One day, they go to a park with other Afghans. People are flying kites. Amir buys one and encourages Sohrab to fly it with him. They see another kite and engage in a battle with it. Using one of Hassan’s favorite moves, they emerge victorious. Sohrab smiles as the defeated kite flies freely, and Amir sets out to catch it for Sohrab.

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