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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)

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What listeners say about The Kite Runner

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A Worhty Read

It might seem a difficult task to stay with a book whose protagonist is so weak, bullying and completely self-absorbed while at the same time thoroughly understandable. Yet, I could not stop; I could not turn it off. Set in the context of recent Afghan history, it describes a relationship of two children contorted by social limitations and a frustrated father-son relationship thwarted in part by the same factors. It is however, beyond all else, a tale of wounds and scars, both self-inflicted and not. Very disturbing and thoght-provoking on many levels. Though authors often do not make the best readers of their work, this author's presence adds to the texture of the prose.

148 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

worth staying with

The first half of this story could have been about any whiny, privileged child trying to gain our empathy for having grown up in the shadow (you say "shadow", I say "great example") of a father of great character. Not new, not insightful.

BUT the second half takes off, as the narrator is thrust into a chance to redeem himself as a man, an Afghan, a muslim. The characters become much more intriguingly drawn and the world they traverse becomes palpable.

The skill of a reader is essential to my enjoyment of an audio book - a bad reader will make me abandon a good story. The author of the Kite Runner is an excellent reader of this tale. He speaks in an English that is clear even to my very provincial northern US ear, but with Afghan pronunciations that add musicality to the story and draw the listener fully into the author's world.

Well worth the reading.

144 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A storyteller's story

I never thought, from the descrption of this book, that I would fall in love with it! The characters are so real and every page of the story is captivating! Written like a memoir, but definitely a novel ending in present day. The descriptions of the "old" Afghanistan made it come alive with the smells, sounds, tone, formality of life, family and what it means, and hierarchy of society. I really "rooted for" some of the characters yet there are moments you can hate them, with all their flaws. These, too, are easy to relate to. Now I feel like I understand a little bit more about Isalm and the people who worship this religion. I also have a deeper understanding of the Middle Eastern customs. The story, though.....The Story is what I would recommend this book for.

130 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My Goodness, What a Audiobook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are audiobooks and there are GREAT audiobooks. This is a GREAT audiobook!!! After hundereds of audiobooks, only Nelson Demille's "The Gold Coast" is in the same class. I resisted listening to The Kite Runner for a long time due to the fact I thought a setting based in Afganastan just wasn't my cup of tea. I could not have been more wrong. The plight of Amir and Hassan is a story I'll not soon forget. The book is very well written and the pronuciation by the author made the book feel even more alive. It was an emotional rollacoaster I loved and as the book ended I cried. All I can keep saying is "For You a Thousand Times Over".

92 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A compelling story

This was one of the top ten audio books I've listened to. A compelling story, read by the author, that is not predictable and will have you listening to every word. It gave me an extraordinary sense of what Kabul was like before the Soviet invasion and after the Taliban took over. An absolute must-hear recording.

34 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Standout Author Narration

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.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

For you my friend, a thousand times over

This book is written and read in the precise way it should have been. No blemishes. It is superb.

The book is not a lesson in Afghan history or Islam. If one is searching for a history lesson embedded in a good plot this is not the book. This is a story, a novel. A classic, gripping, engrossing story full of powerful characters. It will touch your soul and do not be surprised if you quietly wipe a tear or two during the listen as I did. Also, do not be surprised if you chuckle aloud while listening. The story is about a privileged weakling in Kabul and how he grows up with a moral burden, migrates to US and finally returns and to redeem himself. A folk hero like father, his servants son as a friend, a local bully and an immigrant Afghani General the characters are interesting and events around them thought provoking. All scenes in the book including the kite battles are well written. I could visualize everything and see it like a movie.

This was a good listen even through it did not fall under the genera of books I usually listen to. It was also a surprise as after a long time a non-thriller was so compelling and absorbing.

Go ahead. This book is for all taste buds. My favorite phrase form the book: For you my friend, a thousand times over.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Unbelievably touching

I've listened to over 60 books in the past year and this is my favorite so far, by far!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Dramatic window into another life.

This book is worth a listen for the window it opens upon a life not lived by the majority of Americans going about our lives with our ipods and books-on-tape: a hard life, a basic one, yet filled with humanity and wisdom. The writing is good, and having the author read the tape-version helps keep the pronunciations accurate and the sentiment honest. The plotting has both predictable turns, and surprising ones where the author refuses to take the easy way out. This, more than anything, kept me reading because I was always certain there would be an element of the story I could not foresee. The last two hours of the book feel a little like a denoument that takes too long to resolve itself but upon further reflection I don't think there is any other way to tell the tale while being true to the characters. Amir's relationship with Hassan is heartbreaking and satisfying, alternately confusing and then brought into crystal clear focus by a plot turn. The brutality of the situation is Afghanistan is painted bluntly but not without artistry. Listen to this book if you like stories about foreign places and customs and tales of sons and their fathers. Overall, after listening to this book you will feel as if you have a friend from that part of the world. The author succeeds in putting the listener into the shoes of his characters. Finally, don't be surprised if you find yourself practicing the language of the characters while you're listening. There is something inherently fascinating about listening to the words spoken again and again.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The author is the reader, but it turns out great!

Normally when my book club buddy and I see, read my the author we shy away. This was very well done. The author has very good diction and it's great to hear the proper pronunciation of the Afgan words. I felt that he was speaking from the heart. The book has justifiably gotten some outstanding press. I highly recommend this book, especially in the audible version.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 07-02-05

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynne
  • 03-06-07

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.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Melanie Shaw
  • 02-02-15

outstanding

Absolutely fantastic! Hosseini's voice really transports you to the streets of Kabul. A moving story which will stay with you forever.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah J
  • 01-15-11

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Greenfly
  • 08-13-14

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!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr. Catherine Jackson
  • 03-25-08

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

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 01-10-15

Breathtaking!

Could not leave the book if I wanted to. It became part of my thoughts. I had to keep listening.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doctor and devoted Dad
  • 02-03-15

Simply a brilliant epic story

This is the harrowing tale of Amir from his early days in Afghanistan through to the U.S. and back to find the boyhood friend he betrayed. It's backdrop is a period of almost continuous war from the Russian invasion, through to the time of the brutal Taliban regime. It is harrowing in places, brilliantly written and performed and impossible to put down. In my top 10 any day.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • missmandii
  • 01-26-15

loved it!

Loved it, can't wait to read/listen to other books by this author! Bravo as the author said

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 05-17-08

Painted and insightful picture of Afghanistan

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

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-19

Vivid and emotive. Recommend

A very well written, vivid and emotive book. It offers a blunt and sad insight into the realities of life for one Afghani family amongst increasing terror and war in Kabul. The story is told through the eyes of Amir, a young boy who finally faces his own guilt from the past and seeks to honor his family. Excellent read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jakki
  • 12-28-18

Enlightening and Sorrowful

A story the unfolds to reveal the horror of war , the bitterness of life's injustice and the sweetness of forgiveness

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 09-11-18

Chapters don't match book chapters

It is impossible to follow this on for chapters in the novel. The chapters need to be remarked based on the actual chapters in the book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-24-22

A truly beautiful story

Such a touching and thought provoking novel. The last chapter was incredible and so very touching

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pragmatic shopper
  • 09-22-22

Beautiful story, beautifully read.

Captivating story with native words and names read as they should be, while narrator seamlessly transitioned to and from English. This is usually a sticking point for me because if read incorrectly, it takes away from the experience of listening to a story. Thoroughly enjoyable!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-12-22

Worth the time

Slow start but worth persevering. It took a bit to get going but has a realistic ending.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lorena
  • 03-23-22

loved it

I had heard about it before, given the book as a gift, but didn't read until now. So touching and beautiful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-23-22

ohhh my. oh my Khaled Hosseini. you are amazing ♡♡

Khaled hosseini you kept me on the edge. you opened my eyes and heart. you changed the way i look at things/people and to have more understanding to. i didnt want the novel to end. i wanted to continue to, read more about Sohrab. Pages 316 to 317 and pages 338 to 340 had me in tears i didnt want the book to finish. may Allah bless you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karena Dalla Rosa
  • 01-13-22

Stunning

Do yourself a favor and purchase this audio book. Beautifully narrated by the author. Captivating story that will stay with you for a very long time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kain Pollard
  • 12-21-21

An Amazing Story

This book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions while providing an insight into the life of a young Afghani child. Amazingly written with a back drop to a world truly undiscovered in the Western World. It will make you laugh and cry in and instant