Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner combines a compelling, moving narrative, memorable characters and situations, powerful depictions of suffering and guilt, an urgent quest for redemption, and an intense engagement with the fraught and complex history and politics of Afghanistan and its relations with American culture.
The essays in this volume look afresh at this remarkable work, considering its critical reception, its style, structure and themes, its mythical, moral, historical and political dimensions, its continued relevance in the twenty-first century, and its adaptations as a film, stage play, and graphic novel.
This volume, like all others in the Critical Insights series, is divided into several sections. It begins with an introductory piece, “Discovering The Kite Runner,” by Calum Kerr, which offers a vivid account of his own discovery of the novel and his increased fascination with it as a reader, writer, critic, and teacher, as well as his critical exploration of its many facets. This is followed by a Biography of Khaled Hosseini, written by Angela Tredell.
A collection of four critical contexts essays are intended to treat the novel (1) from a historical vantage point, (2) in terms of its critical reception, (3) using a specific critical lens, and (4) by comparing and contrasting it with another important work. This section opens with an article by Calum Kerr titled, “From the Great Game to 9/11: The Historical Context of The Kite Runner,” followed by a piece written by volume editor Nicolas Tredell, “Catching The Kite Runner: A Survey of Critical Responses.” This essay focuses on the critical responses, including early reviews from the novel’s release to later and more reflective critiques. The following two articles are once again written by Calum Kerr and Nicolas Tredell respectively. The first, “A Tale with Two Centers: Narrative Structure in The Kite Runner,” offers a particular critical lens by examining the novel through the lens of narratological theory. The final essay, “Kite and Scarf: The Kite Runner and Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf,” compares and contrasts Khaled Hosseini’s and Mohja Kahf’s novels.
Following these four Critical Context essays is the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays:
- “Ask him where his shame is”: War and Sexual Violence in The Kite Runner, Georgiana Banita
- Hidden in Plain Sight: Caste and Sexuality in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Lucky Issar
- The Kite Runner Two Decades Later: Three Things Every Reader Should Know, Alla Ivanchikova
- “I always felt like Baba hated me a little:” Fathers and Sons in The Kite Runner, Calum Kerr
- “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive”: Perception, Sensation, and Cognition in The Kite Runner, Nicolas Tredell
- “Avoid them like the plague”: Clichés, Style, and Situations in The Kite Runner, Nicolas Tredell
- The Kite Runner on Film: A Survey of Responses, Robert C. Evans
- Staging The Kite Runner, Nicolas Tredell
- The Kite Runner: The Graphic Novel, Nicolas Tredell
- Reconfiguring The Kite Runner, Nicolas Tredell
In the final section, Resources, easy-to-follow lists are provided to help guide the reader through important dates and moments in the author’s life. A selection of further reading is then provided. Each essay in Critical Insights: The Kite Runner includes a list of Works Cited and detailed endnotes. Also included in this volume is a Chronology of Khaled Hosseini’s Life, a list of Works by Khaled Hosseini, a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and an alphabetical Index.
The Critical Insights Series distills the best of both classic and current literary criticism of the world’s most studies literature. Edited and written by some of academia’s most distinguished literary scholars, Critical Insights: The Kite Runner provides an authoritative, in-depth scholarship that students and researchers will rely on for years. This volume is destined to become a valuable purchase for all.