Text: Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003.
Summary of Chapter One
It is December 2001, and the first-person narrator opens by confessing he is who he is today because of what happened when he was twelve years old in Afghanistan in 1975. He still remembers peeking into that alley in Kabul because he has remembered what he saw for the last twenty-six years. When his friend Rahim Khan called him from Pakistan last summer he knew it was his past calling him with his “unatoned sins” (1). He hung up and took a walk in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, his current home, and seeing a pair of kites, remembered Hassan, the harelipped kite runner. Rahim Khan told him “There is a way to be good again” (2).
Commentary on Chapter One
The short preface introduces the reader to a first-person narrator in the present who will be looking back to the defining moment of his life in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1975. He is in San Francisco now, but he brings up the important names to him, stimulated by the phone call and the kites he sees: Kabul, Hassan, Ali, Baba, and Rahim Khan. It is clear that the moment in 1975 that defines him is a heavy burden to carry because he associates it with sins. Rahim Khan hints on the phone that he might still make atonement.