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The Kite Runner

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By Khaled Hosseini

This is a haunting debut novel, one of those rare and rich stories that stays with you days after you’ve put it down. This is the story of Amir, a boy of privilege growing up in Afghanistan in the early 1970s before the Russian invasion. As a child he is presented with a profound moral challenge and he fails. He fails his best friend, and his soul is wounded at that moment.

The book follows the turmoil of the war and the aftermath of the Taliban. Young Amir runs with his father to escape the gunfire, crossing the border into Pakistan, eventually fleeing to California. Amir is haunted by the cowardice of his youth even as he strives to win his father’s respect. His life moves on and takes shape, that shape molded by his inability to forgive himself for what happened one night so many years ago.

It is this lack of forgiveness that eventually leads Amir back to his homeland even as the Taliban terrorize his former countrymen. The descriptions of Afghanistan are captivating, the beauty of Kabul, its sights and smells, before the sound of mortar shells exploding became commonplace. This new author accomplishes the most unlikely goal in The Kite Runner of making an immoral, spoiled young man a hero by showing his struggles to find his own strength and character.

I give a thumbs up to a novel that will feel very different to you – and that’s a good thing – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.

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