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Book Spotlight: “The Kite Runner”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini (1965-), takes place in 1970s Afghanistan and centers on the life of Amir, a young boy who is living in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul. The book highlights the various struggles based on status, ethnicity, and wealth that the characters face in Afghanistan during this time. Amir and his family, who are relatively wealthy, have extremely different preoccupations and difficulties than those of the family’s servant Ali and his son Hassan; both of which are a part of an ethnic minority group called Hazara that has historically been discriminated against. 

While Amir and Hassan are close friends, their lives are distinctly separate. Due to his ethnicity, Hassan does not participate in society in the same ways that Amir and his family do. For example, Amir goes to school and is literate while both Hassan and his father are completely illiterate. Because of this, Hassan is a victim of bullying while also receiving hate for being Hazara. Interestingly, because of the broken state of the government, Amir and Hassan’s possibilities in the future are the same if they both are to remain in Afghanistan.

Kite running, which is the activity that inspired the title, is a popular activity in the country’s cold season in which Afghani boys participate. It consists of teams of one to two boys. Their jobs are to fly their kite and cut down their opponents’ kites with their kite’s sharp, glass shard-encrusted string. Then, perhaps the most significant part, they chase after the downed kite. My understanding is that the winner is whoever catches the downed kite first. Amir and Hassan are a team for kite running in the book and it is their favorite activity of the year. 

The book goes on to illustrate the various relationships, hardships, and tragedies in the lives of both Amir and Hassan. While the book is fictional, Hosseini has admitted that lots of the stories are his real-life experiences. This adds an extra layer of emotional connection to the book and its characters while also making the reader reflect more on what it must be like to have lived in Afghanistan during this time.

The Kite Runner is a phenomenal book that is nearly impossible to put down once you start reading. The reader feels an instant connection with each of the characters because of Hosseini’s magnificent writing. The book applies realistic stories to the endless news broadcasts we have all seen about Afghanistan, causing the reader to critically reflect on the world and their place in it.

Nora Walsh

Denison '25

Nora Walsh is a current freshman at Denison. She is passionate about language learning (specifically Spanish) and learning about various cultures around the world. When she is not doing work, you can find her doing yoga, spending time with friends, listening to music, or diving into a movie or TV show.
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