Author Khaled Hosseini
Type of work Novel
Genre Bildungsroman; Redemption story
Time and place written Los Angeles, CA; 2001 - 2003
Date of first publication May 2003
Publisher Riverhead Books
Point of view The narrator speaks in the first person, primarily describing events that occurred months and years ago. The narrator describes these events subjectively, explaining only how he experienced them. At one point, another character briefly narrates a chapter from his own point of view.
Tone The tone is confessional, expressing profound remorse throughout the story
Tense Past tense with extended flashbacks
Setting (time) 1975 through 2001
Setting (place) Kabul, Afghanistan; California, United States
Major conflict After failing to intervene in the rape of his friend Hassan, Amir wrestles with his guilt and tries to find a way to atone for his actions.
Rising action Forced out of Afghanistan by the Soviet invasion, Amir flees to the United States, where he tries to rebuild his life until an old friend offers him a way to make amends for his past.
Climax Amir returns to Kabul, where he finds Hassan’s son, Sohrab, and encounters Assef, the man that raped Hassan twenty-six years earlier.
Falling action Amir rescues Sohrab from a life of physical and sexual abuse and struggles to learn how he and Sohrab can recover from the traumas each has endured.
Themes The search for redemption; the love and tension between fathers and sons; the intersection of political events and private lives; the persistence of the past
Motifs Rape; irony; regressing in time
Symbols The cleft lip; kites; the lamb
Foreshadowing Baba wonders if Amir will be able to stand up for what is right when the time comes; Baba worries that Islamic fundamentalists will one day control Afghanistan; Hassan threatens to shoot Assef’s eye out; Assef vows revenge on Amir.