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Old 01-04-2008, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 18,776,028 times
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This thread is devoted to the Book Club's discussion on "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hoisseini. It will be open for discussion on or about March 25th.

Last edited by ontheroad; 03-08-2008 at 03:59 PM..
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Old 01-26-2008, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,184 posts, read 18,776,028 times
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Default Kite Runner

We are lucky to have gemkeeper and RDSTOTS volunteer again to lead the discussion of our third book selection:


Book: Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Group Leaders: gemkeeper and RDSLOTS
Discussion Thread Open: on/about Noon, March 25, 2008
Discussion Thread Open: Indefinitely

Rules of Engagement:

Enjoy, discuss, exchange ideas, opinions, make allusions, references to similar plots and themes, but otherwise try not to introduce unrelated topics.

General off topic comments will be permitted as they relate directly to the reading group and the book under discussion.

This is intended as a "fun" experience and not school!

The leader(s) will keep the discussion moving.

We will keep the thread open, indefinitely, so that the members of our group who have not had a chance to procure it or read it can join the discussion at any time.

Members who have not read this book, please take your time and try to resist reading the thread (unless you wish to hear about the book beforehand ) and trust that the discussion will be on-going as members can and will join the thread.

I do think we can assume that one or more City-Data members, who did not sign on, might join us in our discussion. As this is a public forum, this is inevitable and permissible. Only posts that do not conform to CD ToS will be monitored and/or deleted.

Last edited by ontheroad; 03-08-2008 at 04:01 PM..
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,733 posts, read 6,608,741 times
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Smile What a wonderful tale we receive from Hosseini's pen!

Having read both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns I feel a great deal of gratitude to Khaled Hosseini for introducing us to the people, culture and beauty of Afghanistan. He allows a thoughtful glimpse of the very human side of this country that has been shrouded from Western eyes in political and religious guises over many, many years.

Now, we can imagine Afghanistan as a country of people, of a struggle to remain intact, and of human relationships much the same as our own.

The Kite Runner was the first of Dr. Hosseini's 2 published books. He felt that it was a story that had to be told. Although fiction, The Kite Runner was meant to be a story of the real Afghanistan and of its people and its struggle.

Finally released in 2003, Khaled Hosseini thought that he had written this book for himself and it would be shelved in his garage. Imagine his amazement when it captured the imagination and admiration of millions of readers. It is now published in 40 languages and highly regarded throughout the Western world.

The Kite Runner opens with a grown unidentified young man, who we soon learn is Amir, telling the reader that he became who he is today on a winter's day in 1975 as he starred down an alley in Kabul.

He tells us, "I realize that I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years." The scene that he has been trying to bury, to no avail, is a horrific one to Amir and one that he felt defined who he was - someone he did not like.

This tale of friendship, class differences, father-son relationships, jealousy, betrayal and redemption is heart-rending and hope-inspiring. It introduces us to recurring themes of restoring lives and relationships, and seeking atonement for sins long past.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Kite Runner. I developed a strong bond and empathy for Amir and Hassan immediately. They had a friendship that crossed their Hazara/ Pushtan differences. They were bonded by feeding from the same breast as infants, both having mothers long gone, and bonded in ways that would become apparent as Amir tells us his story.

The tale opens in Chapter 2 with a peaceful, privileged harmonious life for Amir and a contented, caring one for the house servant's son, Hassan, in a pre-war Afghanistan.

The boys' first words spoken in the same house seem to set the tone of this boyhood relationship. Amir's first word was "Baba", the father that he couldn't seem to please. Hassan's first word was "Amir", the one he was devoted to til death.

This recounting, to me, was one of the first poignant moments of what was to come. I wonder what piqued other readers' desire to hear more about these two boys.

Last edited by gemkeeper; 03-25-2008 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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So beautifully, and poignantly, said, gem, until I don't know how to respond.

Like you, I have read both books. I read The Kite Runner when it first appeared in bookstores, and loved it then, but was hard-pressed to find anyone who had also read it and with whom I could toss ideas. So, this is a pleasant turn of events for me at least.

I loved the images of Afghanistan as I had pretty much 'stereotyped' the country from reading news accounts in papers and magazines, or from seeing images on TV. How refreshing to see it from Hosseini's perspective, and realizing the Afghans are people, after all, much like any of us from around the world. The boys chasing kites reminded me of my own childhood days -- not of chasing kites, mind you, but of all of the things we, as school children or classmates, and neighborhood kids, brothers and sisters, did together.

Not only do I think Hosseini is a talented writer, but a wonderful storyteller. For me, there is a difference, yet I can enjoy his works on both levels.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Who knows
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Great opening Gemkeeper. You thoroughly got a sense of what Hosseini's trying to convey to the reader.

I was piqued to read further by Amir's attitude toward Hassan. He loved him but was ashamed of him simultaneously. He didn't want people to know he was his best friend/brother; morever, he demonstrated his odd attitude to Hassan by telling him he was dumb or defining a word incorrectly on purpose because Hassan couldn't read. Yet, at the same time, Amir was kind to Hassan by reading to him or carving their names in the tree. I found Amir was a fascinating character because of his complicated relationship with Hassan. He hated Hassan at times because Hassan could read him like a book, was jealous because of Baba's relationship with Hassan and even ran Hassan off but in the end, he realized his wrongdoing and redeemed himself. The overall theme of redemption was clearly emphasized by Amir's realization of how much he loved Hassan, how much he hurt him yet Hassan still thought about him to the end and I think that is what helped in Amir's healing process...he started to forgive himself for the past.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:01 PM
 
Location: North Jersey
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In total agreement, great opeoning Gem!!

I also read both books and enjoyed The Kite Runner to the end!
Many parts had me in near tears, I totally hated Assef.

Iwas cheering Hassan's son on when he came to Amir's defense from the brutal Assef, so like his father many years before.
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Who knows
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I will add the book did give me a new perspective on Afghanistan. I first read The Kite Runner in my History of Iran / Afghanistan class in college. I was a history major and had not delved into this part of the world yet. This book was assigned and I really didn't think I'd enjoy the book because I wasn't as curious about the Middle East. Well, when I began the book, I discovered it was a great book and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I admit I closed my eyes when I was reading the part where Hassan was raped because it was so devestating to read. Not throughly graphic but still makes one cringe quite a bit.

Like njkate, I was moved to tears quite a bit...especially when Baba died and Amir realizing he was so like his dad but not. Hosseini touched my heart with a few scenes, especially when Amir and his wife realized they wouldn't have children and she cried so much or they cried together in bed...luckily their marriage stayed strong but it could have easily been the opposite. One of my favorite scenes, a sad yet happy one, was at the end when Amir was running the kite for Hassan's son...how fitting and touching. It just seemed right.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
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I really enjoyed all of your comments. It seems that we have sensed and appreciated many of the same elements of this book.

I think that Hosseini did a wonderful job of conveying the nature and deep love that the Afghans hold for their homeland. I was so happy to see the many stereotypes and misconceptions put to rest without even attacking each of them specifically.

RDSLOTS, I agree with your point of Hosseini putting a human face on a people that so many in the Western world feel are less than human in their beliefs. The world has so many cultures, but in the end they all embrace love, thirst for freedom, value of family and the will to keep their homelands intact. We are able to see these qualities in The Kite Runner.

Mrs. H and njkate, I think that the majority of readers were brought to tears in many scenes in this tale of friendship, betrayal, disappointment and loss. One of the scenes that first struck me was early in the book - Chapter 3, I believe - when Amir overheard his father and Rahim Khan talking in the library. Baba told Rahim Khan that there was something seriously missing in Amir. If he hadn't seen him born from his dear wife he wouldn't really believe he was his son!

I felt such heartbreak for Amir at this point. What many who read this story interpret as an uncaring, selfish, and spiteful boy, I see a child full of hurt and rejection. I believe that so many of his actions toward Hassan were a result of acting out against his own hurt. He could hurt Hassan, in turn, because he knew that Hassan would accept it "a thousand times over".
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
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Let me add that I am very fascinated, Mrs. H, that you actually had a course on Afghan/Iran history in college. What a wonderful offering. Perhaps, our world becoming smaller will allow the brothers and sisters of the world to gain more understanding of one another.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:26 PM
 
Location: North Jersey
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Well finally at least it was revealed to Amir by Rahim that Hassan was his half brother.
I think that revelation explained many things to him, especially the hurt the day Hassan & his father left Baba's household
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