The Kite Runner: Chapter Summaries
Amir is the narrator of nearly the entire book, and, in the first chapter, he lays out a framework for what is to come. In December of 2001 Amir gets a phone call from a good friend named Rahim who is living in Afghanistan still, though Amir has been living in America for about twenty years. He cryptically tells Amir “there is a way to be good again” and tells Amir to visit him in Afghanistan. Amir is instantly flooded with memories of his past and the people in it. He remembers the day in 1975 when everything in his life changed forever. As Amir walks by the Golden Gate Bridge he sees two kites flying in the sky and he remembers someone named Hassan saying to him “for you, a thousand times over”. Amir had an experience that found him crouching behind a wall made of mud and peeking out into an alleyway in 1975, when he was twelve-years-old, that was life-changing but remains cryptic to the reader. The event, according to Amir, made him the person who he is today.
Amir introduces the reader to his friend Hassan. When they were children they caused a lot of trouble together and Hassan was usually the one who stepped up to take the blame. Amir lived in a nice home when he was younger; it was built by his father and had marble floors and a crystal chandelier. Hassan and Ali are servants of Amir’s family, and they live in a small shack that is nothing like the opulence of Amir’s home. Neither Amir or Hassan have mothers, as Amir’s mother died during childbirth and Hassan’s mother left soon after he was born. Hassan is teased by soldiers when he walks past the military barracks because his mother Sanaubar was very beautiful and very promiscuous amongst the soldiers. Hassan’s father Ali was affected by polio which has caused the muscles in his face to droop; the neighborhood children call him the “boogeyman”. Sanaubar teased Ali as much as anyone and left after Hassan was born with a clef lip. Amir and Ali had the same wet nurse which Ali says gives them a special bond. Ali and Hassan are Hazara and Amir and his family are Pashtun, which is a more privileged group; the two ethnicities have a long-standing tension.
Amir tells some stories about his father Baba, who is often disappointed in Amir. Baba is known to have wrestled a black bear and won, and Amir assures the reader that this is not a tall tale. After the fight,Baba is given the nickname “Toophan agha” which means “Mr. Hurricane”, by Rahim Khan. Baba funds and builds an orphanage, despite having no experience with architecture. When the orphanage is completed Amir and Baba go to Ghargha Lake to celebrate. Baba asks Amir to bring Hassan, but he does not want to so he tells his father that Hassan is ill. When Baba gives a public speech on the opening of the orphanage, Amir feels very proud of his father and what he accomplished. Amir tells the reader that his mother was an impressive and wonderful woman who taught Farsi at the local school and descended from royalty. When Amir is in fifth grade, his teacher Mullah tells him that drinking is a sin and Amir tells Baba this fact, as Baba is pouring himself a whiskey. Baba states that all sin comes from some form of stealing, and then he gets furious with Amir. Amir thinks that Baba hates him for taking his wife away. Amir is a champion at a classroom game that involves reciting poetry and spends a lot of his time reading, which Baba is not crazy about. Baba wants Amir to be interested in sports, but Amir is not interested and gets emotional when he witnesses a person getting trampled at a Buzjashi tournament. Amir listens to Rahim and Baba speak about him that night; Baba thinks that Amir is too emotional and weak.
Amir tells the reader about Ali. Ali’s parents were accidentally run over and killed by two wealthy young men who were high. Ali was adopted by the judge who oversaw the case; the judge happened to be Baba’s father and Amir’s grandfather; Baba and Ali end up being raised in the same household. Amir knows that there is an ethnic difference between himself, and Hassan but he does not think that it drives a wedge in their friendship. Hassan and Amir spend a lot of time together while they are growing up; they play together, they go to the movies and the bazaar, Hassan cooks for Amir and makes his bed and Amir reads to Hassan. Amir likes to play pranks on Hassan, like telling him that “imbecile” means “smart”. He also pretends to read from a book sometimes, even turning the pages, but really he is making up his own stories. It is through this experience that Amir discovers his love of storytelling and decides that he would like to write. Amir is very proud of his first short story, and he brings it to his father to read, but Baba is not impressed that Amir wants to be a writer. Rahim, however, writes Amir a very nice note about how much he likes the story. Hassan also like Amir’s story and thinks he will be a great writer someday, but he points out a hole in the plot. Amir is annoyed at this revelation, but he knows that Hassan is correct in his observation.
A few different events are brought to light in this chapter. On July 17, 1973, there is war in Afghanistan and Ali, Amir, and Hassan all huddle together in the living room of Amir’s home while they hear gunfire outside. Baba does not return home to the morning, but he does manage to make it back safely. At another time, Amir and Hassan are climbing the pomegranate tree in the backyard and are faced with three neighborhood bullies: Assef, Wali, and Kamal. Assef carried brass knuckles with him, he is very unkind to Ali, and his mother is as much a bully as he is. He tells the boys that the next time the new leader, Daoud Khan, is over at his house he is going to speak to him about Hitler and getting rid of all the Hazaras. Amir wants to get away from him immediately, and is very uncomfortable with the whole conversation, as Hassan is Hazara. Assef takes out his brass knuckles, but Hassan is not scared; he puts a rock in his slingshot, and aims it at Assef’s eye, causing the three boys to back off. On another occasion it is Hassan’s birthday. Hassan always gets amazing toys from Baba for his birthday and this year Baba presents him with a doctor who will fix his harelip. Amir says that the scar is healed by the next winter, but it does not matter because Hassan has stopped smiling by then.
In the winter, the Afghan people fly kites a lot. The Afghan kids all love winter time because there is snow, they can fly kites, and there is no school. Amir likes that he is able to bond with his father more during winter time because Baba also likes to fly kites. They participate in kite fighting, in which the goal is to cut another kite fliers string with your string so Amir and Hassan coat their strings in glass shards. After the kite string is cut the kite runners come in; it is their job to chase down the kite that has been cut. Hassan is a great kite runner; he is fast and athletic and he has great instincts. Amir is not nearly as good as Hassan is so he follows him. One time the boys run to a field that Amir seriously doubts the kite is going to land in, but Hassan tells him to have trust; and wouldn’t you know the kite lands in the field shortly after. Just a few days before the kite-fighting tournament is to take place Baba tells Amir that he thinks he will win that year. Amir tries to imagine winning and how much he and Baba would bond with one another if he won. The night before the tournament Amir and Hassan are playing cards together, and Amir tells Hassan that he will buy him a television someday. Hassan tells Amir that he thinks Amir will win the tournament. When Amir wins their card game he has a feeling that Hassan let him.
The day of the tournament Hassan tells Amir about a dream he had the night before while he is eating breakfast. In the dream, the two boys were at Ghargha Lake with Rahim Khan, Baba, Ali, and some other people but no one would go in the water because there is supposedly a monster at the bottom.Hassan jumps into the water and Amir follows him; there is no monster, they are safe, and everyone cheers. At the tournament the kites are taken out one by one until only Amir’s kite and the kite of another person are remaining. Amir gets a lucky gust of wind that allows his kite to cut the string of the other kite and Amir wins. In this tournament, the kite runners always want to catch the runner-up kite because it is considered a trophy. Hassan runs off after the blue kite and Amir sets off to find him after bringing his own kite home. He sees Hassan in an alley surrounded by Assef, Wali, and Kamal, but none of the boys see him. Amir tells the reader about some of his memories with Hassan and then gets back to the scene in the alley. He is about to break in when suddenly Assef drops his pants and rapes Hassan; the other boys seem to want nothing to do with this attack. Amir runs and meets up with Hassan a little later. Hassan almost tells Amir what happened but instead just hands him the kite and says nothing. Amir notices a stain on the back of Hassan’s pants and that he is walking with a limp. At home Baba takes Amir into his arms and Amir cries.
After the day of the kite-fighting tournament, Amir does not see Hassan very often. He finds that when he wakes up breakfast is already made for him. Ali notices that something seems off and asks Amir about it, but Amir is rude to him and, though he should, he does not tell Ali about what happened in the alley. Amir asks his father if they can go to Jalalabad and Baba agrees and tells him to see if Hassan wants to come; Amir lies and says that Hassan is sick because he does not want him to come he just wants to spend the day with Baba. Unfortunately, Baba invites most of their relatives to come and they take 3 vans full of people to Jalalabad. That night after everyone has eaten a lot of food they go to sleep. Amir says out loud, to no one in particular, that he saw Hassan get raped; no one hears him and that is the night when Amir’s insomnia starts. Throughout the winter, Amir and Hassan drift further apart and Amir spends a lot of time alone in his room reading. Hassan asks if he did something to upset Amir, but Amir tells him he just wants to be alone. Amir gets to the point where he asks Baba if he will hire new servants and Baba is furious with him, which strains their relationship more than ever. One day Amir is reading to Hassan by the pomegranate tree and when he gets bored he throws a pomegranate at Hassan hoping that he will fight back but he does not. The day of Amir’s birthday party Assef shows up, has a conversation with Baba about soccer, and gives Amir his present; the present turns out to be a biography on Hitler. Rahim comes into Amir’s room and tells him about how he almost married a Hazara woman, but his family would not let him. And he gives Amir a leather-bound journal.
Amir opens his presents the day after his birthday party. Baba got him a Schwinn Stingray bike, which is about as good as it gets according to Amir, and a new wristwatch. Amir is angry about all of his nice presents and throws them into the corner of his room. He thinks of them as “blood money” because he knows that the only reason Baba threw him such a nice party is because he won the kite tournament. Amir’s gift from Ali and Hassan is a very nice copy of “Shahnamah” which he knows they must have had to save up for. Amir, in an extreme act, takes his wristwatch and a wad of money and stuffs them beneath Hassan’s mattress then tells his father that some of his things seem to be missing. Baba asks Ali about the missing things and Ali asks Hassan. The two of them come to Amir’s home, crying, and Amir admits to Baba that he took the things even though he did not. Baba forgives Hassan for the theft, much to Amir’s surprise especially because his father thinks theft is the worst of all sins. Despite the forgiveness, Ali and Hassan decide to leave the home, even when Baba begs them to stay. It is pouring rain outside as Baba brings Ali and Hassan to the train station. Amir nearly chases after them and confesses but he does not.
This chapter opens in March 1981, and Amir and Baba are crammed into the back of a Russian truck with other refugees who are headed to Pakistan. Afghanistan is no longer safe to live in, and there are spies everywhere. When they reach the checkpoint, the guards seem drunk and one of them tells the driver, Karim, that they can get by if he can fool around with one of the women on the truck. Baba is furious at this request from the officer and Amir tries to stop him from saying something, but he cannot; Baba basically tells the guard to shove it and the guard shoots his gun. Thankfully the bullet does not hit anyone and a superior officer keeps the guards in check. When they reach the home in Jalalabad where they are crammed together in a small space they get word that there is no truck to Peshawar; Baba goes crazy and nearly strangles a man at the news. In the basement of the house, Amir finds that Kamal and his father are there, Kamal (ironically) was raped in Kabul and his mother was killed there. Karim eventually finds a fuel truck to take them all to Peshawar and Amir is struck by the fumes as soon as he gets into the belly of the truck. Baba tells him to think of something good to distract him, and he thinks of flying kites with Hassan. They get out at Pakistan to catch a bus, and everyone is crawling around sick from the fumes. Kamal stop breathing and his father shoots himself with Karim’s gun.
Baba and Amir move to America in the 1980’s and it is not entirely smooth to begin with. Baba spends time talking to Amir about international politicians and how much he likes and respects Ronald Reagan. They have been in American for about two years, but Baba is not adjusting very well. He gets very upset at the local convenience store where they will not take his check without photo identification. Baba is forced to work at a gas station twelve hours per day, six days per week. They were forced to be on welfare when they first arrived, but as soon as Baba got a job he returned his food stamps. When Amir graduates from high school Baba is very proud of him and gives him a car as a graduation present. Amir is emotional and very happy until Baba tells him that he wishes Hassan could be there with them, and then Amir feels extremely guilty. Amir has plans to enroll in junior college and Baba is not too thrilled with the idea of Amir majoring in Creative Writing. Baba sells his car and buys a Volkswagen Bus; he and Amir begin going to flea markets and garage sales a lot. At one, Amir is introduced to General Taheri and his daughter Soraya from Afghanistan and he is immediately smitten with Soraya. Amir remembers hearing something bad about Mr. Taheri and knows that there are not many suitors interested in his daughter anymore.
Amir remembers staying up late at night with Hassan in Afghanistan. Now he stays up late at night thinking about Soraya, “My Swap Meet Princess”. Amir is always looking at Soraya when he goes to the flea market, and Baba reminds him to remember honor and pride. Amir promises not to embarrass anyone. Amir spends a lot of time speaking to Soraya, perhaps more than he should, until her mother comes over and then he leaves. He thinks about her all the time and one day at the flea market they talk about how she wants to become a teacher; Amir gives her one of his stories for her to read. The General breaks up their conversation, throws the story in the trash, and basically scolds Amir for speaking so freely and being so bold with his daughter. Baba gets sick and Amir is worried; after visiting a couple of doctors they learn that Baba has cancer, and it will kill him. Baba slowly gets sicker and he reaches a point when he knows he will die soon and tells Amir to ask the General for Soraya’s hand. He does so and is accepted, but Soraya wants Amir to know about her past. She ran away with another man and disgraced her family. Amir has his own checkered past and does not hold hers against her; he agrees to marry her anyway and wants to tell her about Hassan but he does not.
Baba goes with Amir to the home of General Taheri and formally asks for him to accept Amir as his son-in-law in a ceremony called “lafz”. There is supposed to be an engagement period of a couple of months, but Baba will not likely last that long so they rush the wedding. Baba gives his entire life savings of $35,000 to pay for the wedding. As Amir and Soraya go through with their ceremony Amir cannot help but wonder if Hassan ever married and if he did, what his wife looks like. Soraya and Amir live with Baba because he is too ill to care for himself. One day when Amir returns home with Baba’s medicine he finds Soraya reading some of his stories to his father. Amir is overcome with emotion that his father finally accepts his writing. Baba passes away in his sleep only one month after Amir and Soraya are married. At a family function, Soraya is insulted by two men who call her un-virtuous because of her past, and she tells Amir more about the time she ran away. Her father came to get her with a gun that had two chambers loaded – one bullet for the boyfriend and one for himself that he would use if Soraya refused to come home with him; he also made her cut her hair off. Both Amir and Soraya enroll in college, him as an English major and her as an Education major. Amir begins to write and eventually finds a publisher. Amir and Soraya try to get pregnant but find out that Soraya is infertile. They toy with the idea of adoption but ultimately decide that it is not for them. They decide to buy a home together.
It is June 2011, and Amir and Soraya have a cocker spaniel dog named Aflatoon, which translates to “Plato” because he always looks like he is thinking wise thoughts. Soraya has been at the same teaching job for six years and is still very beautiful. Amir has just gotten a phone call from Rahim Khan in Pakistan. He tells Amir to come back because he has found a way “to be good again”. Amir tells Soraya that his friend Rahim is very ill, and he must go to see him. Amir leaves the house and goes for a walk; he sees two red kites in the sky. Amir makes the decision to return to his homeland. He has trouble falling asleep that night. He thinks about his relationship with Soraya and how it is not the same as it used to be. He says that they still have a sexual relationship with one another, but it is not out of joy as it used to be, it is almost as though they do it because they feel they are supposed to.While they used to talk about their hopes for the future, they now only have conversations about work and less personal things. Amir finally falls asleep dreaming about Hassan; he leaves for Pakistan one week later.
Amir arrives in Peshawar, and he learns from the cab driver that many of the people from Afghanistan now live in an area known as “Afghan Town”. Amir is brought to the building that Rahim lives in. When Amir sees Rahim he does not look like he is doing well. Amir and Rahim catch up with one another; they talk about Afghanistan, things that happened in the past, and the life that Amir is living in America. Amir tells Rahim about Soraya, his college career and writing, and Baba. They begin to talk about Afghanistan and the Taliban. Kabul had become such a war zone that the Taliban was welcomed though their control soon became evident. Rahim tells Amir that he is dying, and he needs Amir to do something for him before he dies. Before Rahim reveals to Amir what he wants him to do he needs to tell him about Hassan.
Rahim is the narrator of this chapter. Rahim moved into Baba’s house after Baba and Amir moved to America. He was having a hard time keeping up with the large house himself so he ventured to Hazajarat, where most of the Hazara people live, to find Hassan. Rahim finds Hassan and learns that he is married to a woman named Farzana, and she is pregnant; he also learns that Ali was killed by a land mine a couple of years earlier. Rahim asks Hassan to come back to Baba’s house and help him there; Hassan asks about Amir and Baba and learns of Baba’s death. Hassan and Farzana decide to go back to Kabul with Rahim, and they live in the same servants’ quarters where Hassan lived before, despite there being plenty of space for them in the main house. Farzana’s baby girl is stillborn, but she gets pregnant again soon. Hassan’s estranged mother Sanaubar shows up at the gate one morning, and she is in rough shape so Hassan and the others let her into the house and take care of her. When the child is born he is named Sohrab, after Hassan’s favorite character in the book that Amir used to read him. Over time Sanaubar dies in her sleep and Hassan raises his son to do all of the things that Hassan loved as a child; such as reading and kite flying. The Taliban soon bans kites, and, in two years, they will kill off the Hazaras.
Rahim gives Amir letters from Hassan and a picture of Hassan and his son Sohrab. In the first letter, Hassan tells Amir that he hopes he sees him again someday and he tells his wife and son about Amir all the time. In the second letter, he writes to Amir about the Taliban and how much Kabul has changed since they came in. He also brags about Sohrab and how good he is with a slingshot, just like his dad. In the third letter, Hassan tells Amir how sick Rahim is getting, but he hopes that he will get well. The tone of the letters is pleasant and Amir can see that Hassan does not hold a grudge. Rahim tells Amir what happened to Hassan: one month after Rahim came to Peshawar he got word that the Taliban did not believe Rahim left the house in the care of Hassan and Farzana so they were executed. Rahim called Amir to Peshawar to rescue Sohrab from the orphanage where he is being kept; he knows some people who will adopt the boy. Amir does not want to until he finds out that Hassan is his half-brother; apparently, Ali was sterile so Baba got Sanaubar pregnant. Amir storms out of Rahim’s apartment when he learns the news.
After Amir leaves, Rahim’s apartment he is furious over the fact that Baba fathered Hassan and never told him. He stops to have some tea and think over all the signs that may have been there as a boy that he never understood. He realizes that there were more than a few occasions where it was obvious that Hassan was Baba’s son and Amir cannot believe that he never picked up on it. He recalls how Baba got a doctor to fix Hassan’s harelip and how Baba never forgot Hassan’s birthday. Also, he remembers how upset Baba was when Amir asked for new servants and how he cried the day that Hassan and Ali moved away. Amir thinks about how Baba though the only sin was theft, and in a way he stole Ali’s honor by fathering his child. He also thinks that he and his father were more alike than he thought; they both betrayed people who would have done anything for them. Amir feels responsible for Hassan and Ali’s deaths because he drove them out of Baba’s home. He thinks that if he saves Sohrab then maybe he can atone for the sins committed by himself and his father.
Amir is carsick on his way to find Sohrab. The cab driver, Farid, offers Amir a lemon to cure the sickness and Amir cannot refuse it without seeming snobbish; this shows a bit of the class struggle that is common. When they get into Afghanistan, Amir is overwhelmed by his surroundings which have been so changed by destruction since he fled. There is some further tension between Farid and Amir because Amir was not around for the war. They stay with Wahid, Farid’s brother that evening. Wahid asks about Amir’s writing career and whether he writes about Afghanistan. In response Amir summarizes an awful novel that he wrote and tells Wahid that he is not “that kind of writer”. Farid accuses Amir of coming back to sell his land make money; Wahid is embarrassed by his brother who obviously dislikes wealthy people. Eventually Amir tells them that he is really there to rescue a young boy, and Farid feels ashamed for his accusation; he agrees to help Amir find Sohrab. Amir has a dream about Hassan being executed that night, and he sees his own face as one of the executers. Farid and Amir leave but before they do Amir leaves some cash under a mattress because he could see the way Wahid’s children were eyeing his food the night before.
Amir and Farid make their way to Kabul, and Farid is much nicer to Amir now. Amir sees burnt military tanks on the side of the roads and notices that there are beggars all around; this is nothing like the Kabul which Amir remembers. A truck full of Taliban drives by and Amir cannot help but stare at them. Amir speaks to a beggar who, as fate has it, used to work with Amir’s mother when she was a teacher. He learns a few things about her and decides that she sounds like a very nice woman. They arrive at the orphanage, which looks incredibly beaten down. The director of the orphanage comes outside and sees the photo of Sohrab; he immediately says he has never seen the boy and looks away. When Amir explains that he is not Taliban and is there to take Sohrab to a good home the director brings them inside. The conditions inside are very poor and the director admits that sometimes the Taliban come to buy children from him, and he complies because needs the money, and Sohrab is one of the children who was sold. Farid nearly strangles the man to death. The director tells Amir and Farid that the Taliban official who buys the children will be at Ghazi Stadium the following day, so they may be able to save the boy.
Amir and Farid head toward Baba’s house in the Wazir Akbar Khan district. They pass a restaurant where Amir and Baba used to eat and see a dead body hanging near it. The actual district is not too bad because, as Farid explains to Amir, most of the Taliban lives in Amir’s old neighborhood now. Amir remembers a time when he and Hassan found a turtle, painted is shell red, and toted it around as fire-breathing monster. Amir pokes around his old house a bit, but Farid tells him that he needs to forget the past in order to move on; however, Amir has a newfound interest in his past and wants to remember it. Amir visits the pomegranate tree and sees that the inscription “Amir and Hassan. The Sultans of Kabul” is still there. Farid honks the horn and the two men leave to get a hotel in Pashtunistan Square; it is expensive and run down. The next day they go to Ghazi Stadium and watch the soccer game, hoping to get some information about Sohrab. At half-time, the Taliban cleric whom they are looking for puts on a show of stoning adulterers for the whole crowd to see; one dies and both are loaded up into a truck and taken away. Amir schedules a meeting with the cleric for later that day.
Farid and Amir get to the cleric’s house, and Farid waits in the car. Amir meets the cleric who is wearing a gold watch, sunglasses, a white robe splattered with blood from the stoning, and he has track marks on his arms. He tells Amir about the massacre of the Hazaras and how liberating it felt. He calls Sohrab into the room, and he has bells on his ankles. The cleric plays some music and Sohrab begins to dance. Amir realizes that the cleric is a pedophile when he sees him rub Sohrab’s back. The cleric asks Amir about “old Babalu”, which is the mean name the kids used to call Ali, and Amir realizes that the cleric is Assef. Amir asks Assef if he can buy Sohrab from him, but Assef is not interested in money. He tells a story about how he became Taliban and then tells Amir that he will give Sohrab to him if Amir will fight him. Ever since Hassan held a slingshot to Assef when they were kids he has held a grudge. The fight is mostly one-sided as Assef beats Amir with his brass knuckles and it only stops when Sohrab, like his father, holds a slingshot up to Assef armed with a brass ball. Unlike his father, Sohrab actually shoots the ball and hits Assef in the left eye. Sohrab and Amir run from the house, jump in Farid’s car, and take off.
Amir drifts in and out of consciousness in the hospital. He remembers being a car with a boy and a man, and he sees their faces around his bed but he cannot put names to the faces right away. Amir manages to wake up long enough to understand what is happening around him. His doctor’s name is Armand, and he is at a hospital in Peshawar. Amir is suffering from broken rips, a split upper lip, a punctured lung, and cuts and bruises. Amir finally gets to really meet Sohrab because he did not get a chance to talk to him the night they met. He also receives a letter from Rahim apologizing for himself and Baba never telling Amir that Hassan was his brother. He also tells him that Hassan confessed what happened in the alley to him a few days after it happen. He also tells Amir how much Baba loved him, even when he did not show it. Rahim ends the letter telling Amir that he left some money for him at a bank in Peshawar. Farid leaves to find the Caldwells, a couple who is supposed to adopt Sohrab, and Amir spends time bonding with the boy. Amir decides he needs to leave the hospital, and he does so. He wants to drop Sohrab off with his new parents, but he discovers that they do not exist. Sohrab heads to Islamabad, Pakistan with Amir. Amir drifts asleep on the way to Islamabad and dreams about Soraya, Baba, and Hassan.
Farid leaves Amir and Sohrab to go back to his family and Amir gives him a generous $2000 for his troubles. That Amir drifts off to sleep and wakes up to find that Sohrab is missing. He decides that Sohrab may have gone to see a mosque he admired on the way to the hotel and gets the owner of the hotel to drive him there. At the mosque Amir finds Sohrab and they have a heart to heart about their families, how they are related, and the abuse that Sohrab has been subjected to. Amir asks Sohrab to come live in American with him and Soraya, but Sohrab does not answer right away. Over the next few days, Sohrab asks some questions about America and eventually decides to join Amir. Amir makes some calls to figure out how the adoption would work, and Soraya does the same in America. Amir is given some unfortunate news about the possibility of adoption and finds that the only way it might work is if Sohrab goes back to an orphanage first and the adoption goes through there; the problem is that Amir has promised Sohrab he will not ever have to live in an orphanage again. Soraya has a promising lead in America, but Amir jumps the gun and tells Sohrab that he may have to go to an orphanage for a little while. Amir is woken by a phone call from Soraya saying she might have figured everything out, and Amir goes to the bathroom to tell Sohrab because he sees a light in. When he opens the door, he finds that Sohrab has slit his wrists with a straight razor.
Amir is in the hospital where Sohrab is being treated, though he does not know if the boy will survive. He asks someone to point him to the west; he kneels and prays to Allah and also asks for forgiveness.Amir falls asleep and Dr. Nawaz wakes him to tell that after several blood transfusions Sohrab is recovering. Sohrab will not speak at all, even when Amir asks him to come to America, though he ends up going anyway. One night in California Soraya’s parents come to visit, and the General asks Amir why he brought a Hazara boy home. Amir tells the General that Sohrab is his nephew, and he is never to refer to the boy as a Hazara again. About a month after Amir and Sohrab return to America the twin towers fall. The world becomes frenetic about Afghanistan, and Amir’s family gets involved in charity work for a hospital on the Afghan-Pakistan border. In March 2002, Amir’s family and some friends celebrate the Afghan New Year at Lake Elizabeth Park. There is music, food, and jokes but Sohrab still does not speak and seems uninterested. When people begin to fly kites, Amir tells Sohrab about how he and Hassan used to participate in kite fighting and Hassan was the best kite runner ever. After Amir teaches Sohrab to fly, a kite he asks Sohrab if he can run the kite for him and Sohrab nods. Amir tells Sohrab, just as Hassan told him, “For you, a thousand times over”.