Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner follows Amir’s life over several decades, from his childhood in the 1970s to his life in the United States in 2002. The novel is dedicated to Hosseini’s two children and also all the children of Afghanistan.
In terms of structure, the events develop chronologically and follow Amir’s life roughly from 1975 to 2002. Several chapters, however, jump backward in time and tell the story of other characters, like Baba. Other chapters jump forward in time and skip several years of the characters’ lives.
The main character is Amir, a young well-off boy who lives in Kabul with his father, Baba. The novel focuses on the unlikely friendship between Amir and Hassan, the servant’s son, and on Amir’s efforts to win his father’s approval. Other important characters include Ali – Hassan’s father, Rahim Khan – Baba’s friend and associate, Assef – Amir’s bully, and the people Amir meets in the United States.
When it comes to the setting, the novel covers several decades, countries, and political contexts. The main events take place between the 1970s – when Amir was a boy in Kabul – to 2002 – when Amir is living in the United States with his wife and adopted son.
Amir is the first-person narrator and his voice is mainly nostalgic but also analytical at times. Amir tells his story in the past tense, covering the events that have shaped the person he currently is. Amir’s analytical voice mainly helps readers distinguish between young Amir and adult Amir’s ways of thinking.
In terms of language, the novel heavily relies on the influence of Arabic languages on the characters. No matter where life takes the characters, they continue to introduce Arabic words and expressions in their conversations. Moreover, many of the scenes in the novel are described cinematically and the author does not spend too much time on extensive descriptions.
You can read a full analysis of the novel on the following pages.
Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: