The Kite Runner Critical Review

Khaled Hosseini, a worldly acclaimed author wrote one of the most intriguing novels The Kite Runner. As testament to the book’s allure and uniqueness are the facts that it has been adapted into a movie and a play, both of which have gone on to enjoy rave reviews. The Kite Runner follows the life story of Amir a Muslim of the Sunni heritage. After having to contend with several traumatic events as a child, Amir finds himself struggling to find his place in the world.

The novel is based on these experiences as an adult Amir recalls the experiences which essentially changed his life. With the novel’s setting being present day United States, the author vaguely refers to one of the most significant events in Amir’s childhood in Afghanistan. Other than the apparent childhood issues that Amir has to contend with, he is also faced by the challenge of forging a close relationship with Baba, his father, he also has to determine for sure what his relationship with Hassan, his servant is all about. Hassan comes from the minority. She has a Muslim background and is Amir’s best friend. There are three main parts of the novel, which are easily discernible by the reader, Amir’s time as a child in Kabul, his time alongside his father upon relocation to the United States, and his return to Kabul.

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The book makes for great review as explained below owing to the interesting plot covering the main theme of betrayal and the prospect of redemption, never mind redemption is not in any way guaranteed. Sarah A. Smith and Charlie B. offer interesting reviews of Khaled Hosseini’s novel as seen below.

The Kite Runner is one of the most intriguing and widely acclaimed novels authored by renowned author Khaled Hosseini. In addition to this, the novel proved to be an interesting read because of the unique setting. The novel’s setting is unique owing to the author’s use of his own real-life experiences to create the setting. However, the characters are fictional. The novel’s narrative and plot is a representation of historical realism owing to its use of dates and real life event which serves as an important element of chronological accuracy. For instance, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the change in regimes. The success of Khaled Hosseini’s book and the unique take he has on some issues such as friendship, loyalty and betrayal makes for a great review. This essay aims to critically analyze two professional reviews of The Kite Runner titled From Harelip to Split Lip by Sarah A. Smith and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Review by Charlie B.

Charlie B’s critical review of the book focuses mostly on the emotional elements of the Khaled Hosseini’s book. He identifies betrayal and redemption as the two themes central to the book’s plot. He begins off by giving a brief overview of the book’s main plot looking not to give too much away in his review. In addition to this, he identifies the main protagonists Amir and Hassan who are seemingly bound to each other by fate. He identifies the betrayal of Amir when he betrays none other than his best friend, an act that will likely haunt him forever.

In his review, Charlie B focuses on his personal opinion of the story in the last two paragraphs. He goes on to state why he thinks the story is intriguing. Some of the reasons he states are the fast-paced nature of the plot, the exceptional balance between creating clarity and power in the delivery of the story (B). He quips that the book is not only brilliantly constructed but it also explores the art of storytelling. I find Charlie B’s review to be completely spot on and I am in agreement with the author’s views and his general evaluation of the story’s plot. However, in his review, Charlie B did not identify one of the hidden themes of the story’s plot being the challenge of class issues, both cultural and socioeconomic. From my analysis of the book, the main driver of the story is fear, it is a motivator and forgiveness and friendship. Nonetheless, Charlie B offers an exceptional take on Khoseini’s book.

On the other hand, Sarah A. Smith’s article focuses on Afghanistan before the war and chaos descended upon the land. At the beginning of her review, notes the unlikely nature of Afghanistan as a setting for literary fiction. According to her, it is this fact that makes the writers from that region of the world to be viewed as an unknown quantity. According to Smith, Khaled Hosseini’s book is the author’s attempt at correcting this by reminding the reader of the anonymity his country enjoyed before the Soviet invasion.

Smith starts off by identifying the main characters Amir and Hassan. It is here that she points out the unlikely nature of their friendship, Amir is from a privileged background while Hassan comes from the Hazara, a minority tribe (Smith). However, despite their close friendship, Amir betrays his friend when he leaves him in the hands of a bully who rapes him. Smith, goes on to explain how the feeling of guilt simmers within Amir owing to his betrayal of Hassan. Amir is never free of the guilt that follows him even after relocating to the U.S. In so doing, Smith identifies the key themes of guilt and betrayal.

At the end of her review, Smith focuses on largely giving her own perspective of the book. She is charmed by the novel’s detailed characterization pointing to Baba’s emotional complexity and the social stereotyping personified by Amir’s parents-in-law. I am more drawn to Smith’s analysis of the book as she critically analyzes even the most subtle of topics. Furthermore, her criticism of the storyline as overdone to some extent is spot on.


Works Cited

B, Charlie. “The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Review”. Review of The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, The Guardian, 2014. Web. Apr. 15, 2017. <>

Smith, Sarah A. “From Harelip to Split Lip”. The Guardian, 2003. Web. Apr. 15, 2017. <>