Here you will find a The Kite Runner summary (Khaled Hosseini's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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Reflecting on his childhood in Afghanistan, the protagonist recalls a pivotal incident that shaped his life. Raised in a comfortable Kabul home with his father, the pair were served by two Hazara servants, Ali and his son Hassan. Amidst political turmoil in Afghanistan, the protagonist and Hassan encounter three boys who threaten them due to Hassan's ethnicity. The confrontation is resolved by Hassan's quick thinking with his slingshot. During a kite-fighting tournament, the protagonist wins but Hassan, who attempts to retrieve the kite, gets trapped and sexually assaulted by the same boys. Overcome with guilt, the protagonist cannot face Hassan and orchestrates a plot that results in Hassan and Ali moving away. Fast forward to 1981, the protagonist and his father are forced to escape war-torn Kabul, finding sanctuary in Pakistan. After two years, they relocate to California, where his father works at a gas station while the protagonist graduates high school and enters college. He meets and marries Soraya, the daughter of his father's acquaintance. His father, diagnosed with lung cancer, passes away shortly after their wedding. The protagonist and Soraya try unsuccessfully to have children, while he focuses on his writing career. An unexpected call from his father's old friend, Rahim Khan, reveals shocking news: Hassan was killed by the Taliban and left behind a son, Sohrab. The protagonist learns that his father was also Hassan's father, making Sohrab his nephew. Tasked with bringing Sohrab to Pakistan, he learns that Sohrab was taken by a Taliban official, who turns out to be one of the boys from their childhood encounter. After facing physical violence, the protagonist and Sohrab manage to escape. The protagonist brings Sohrab to the U.S, where they face challenges in his adoption and mental health. However, a nostalgic kite-flying experience sparks a small but hopeful change in Sohrab, hinting at a potential for healing and a brighter future.
Set in December 2001, the narrator reflects on a significant event from 1975 when he was a 12-year-old in Afghanistan. Though he doesn't detail what occurred, he credits it for shaping his identity. He then shares about a phone call he got the previous summer from Rahim Khan, a friend in Pakistan. Rahim Khan requests his presence in Pakistan. The narrator, Amir, presently residing in San Francisco, strolls around the city post the call. He observes kites in the sky and they trigger memories of his childhood and Hassan, his friend with a cleft lip, referred to as a kite runner.
Amir and Hassan, two young boys, often engaged in playful mischief such as reflecting sunlight into neighbors' windows using mirrors or pelting the neighbor's dog with walnuts using a slingshot. These schemes were always conceived by Amir, but Hassan never pointed fingers at Amir if they got in trouble. They both lived in Kabul, however, their living conditions differed dramatically. Amir resided in an extravagant house with his father, Baba, while Hassan and his father, Ali, stayed in a humble mud hut located within Baba's estate, with Ali serving as Baba's servant. Both boys were motherless; Amir's mother died during childbirth and Hassan's mother abandoned him shortly after his birth. In a shocking encounter, a soldier claims to have slept with Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar. Despite their marriage, Ali and Sanaubar were polar opposites. Ali was deeply religious, had a paralyzed lower face and a severe limp due to polio. Sanaubar, on the other hand, was stunningly beautiful, nineteen years younger than Ali, and infamous for her loose morals. Their marriage was believed to be arranged by Sanaubar’s father to reclaim his family's honor. Sanaubar openly expressed disdain for Ali's physical traits and abandoned him and her newborn son Hassan for a group of nomadic entertainers just five days after Hassan's birth. The soldier derogatorily labels Hassan as a Hazara, which we find out is a marginalized ethnicity in Afghanistan. The Hazaras, with prominently Asian features, originated from regions further east in Asia. Hassan’s parents were also Hazaras. In contrast, Amir and Baba belong to the Pashtun ethnicity. While perusing history books, Amir uncovers details about the Hazara uprising that happened in the 19th century, which was cruelly crushed by the Pashtuns. The book also mentions some offensive terms used for the Hazara, such as mice-eating, flat-nosed, and outlines that part of the hatred stems from religious differences-- Hazaras being Shia Muslims and Pashtuns being Sunni Muslims.
Amir recalls Baba, a large man of six feet five, with wild hair and a thick beard. He was known for doing what people said was impossible, such as wrestling a bear, building an orphanage without any architectural knowledge, and becoming a successful businessman without any business acumen. Despite not belonging to a notable family, Baba married Sofia Akrami, a royal beauty with brains. Baba had a unique sense of morality. He believed theft was the only sin, and all others were just variations of it. He even tells Amir that those who focus on others' sins, like his school's religious teacher, Mullah Fatiullah Khan, are fools. Striving to gain Baba's approval, Amir attempts to emulate him but often feels inadequate. He blames himself for his mother's death. He tries to develop a liking for soccer because of Baba, but fails. His talents lie in reading and writing poetry, but he fears Baba considers these unmanly. During a buzkashi game, a popular Afghan sport, Amir's reaction to a rider's accident elicits Baba's scorn. Amir later overhears Baba expressing his concerns about Amir's capability to stand up for himself to his associate, Rahim Khan, the man who later contacts Amir from Pakistan.
The narrative retraces to 1933 when Baba was born and Zahir Shah ascends to the throne in Afghanistan. In the same period, a car accident caused by intoxicated men claims the life of Ali's parents. Amir's grandfather adopts young Ali, and he grows up alongside Baba, who never regards Ali as a friend. Despite their shared childhood, Amir also never sees Hassan as a friend due to their cultural and religious disparities. However, his childhood memories are predominantly of playing games with Hassan. Their routines differ; Amir attends school while Hassan tackles household chores. Amir frequently reads to the illiterate Hassan, with “Rostam and Sohrab” being their favorite tale. During a reading session under a pomegranate tree, Amir fabricates his own story for Hassan, who praises it as one of the best he's heard. That evening, Amir pens his first short story about a man who becomes wealthy from his tear-turned-pearls, which ends with the man weeping over his murdered wife atop a pile of pearls. When he attempts to show Baba his story, Baba barely notices it, and Rahim Khan takes it instead. Later that night, Rahim Khan gives Amir a note praising his exceptional talent. Eager to share, Amir wakes Hassan to read him his story. Hassan compliments the story but innocently queries why the man didn't use onions to induce tears. Amir, irritated by this oversight, silently harbors unkind thoughts about Hassan's Hazara heritage.
Gunfire breaks out one night, causing Ali, Hassan, and Amir to seek refuge indoors. Amir describes this incident as the start of Afghanistan's downfall, witnessing the gradual decline with the 1978 communist takeover and the 1979 Russian invasion. The gunfire was linked to a coup where Daoud Khan, the king’s cousin, seized power. Baba comes home only at daybreak due to road closures. The next morning, Amir and Hassan hear about the new republic on the radio, but fail to comprehend its implications. They venture out to climb a tree. While on their way, a stone strikes Hassan. They encounter Assef, a notorious neighborhood bully, and his friends. Assef is known for insulting Ali and carrying brass knuckles. He belittles Hassan, asks them about the new republic and mentions his father's acquaintance with Daoud Khan. He reveals his plan to discuss Hitler's concept of ethnic purity with Khan, expressing his disdain for Hazaras and their impact on Afghanistan. Assef suddenly turns on Amir, blaming him for befriending a Hazara, but retreats when Hassan threatens him with a slingshot, allowing Amir and Hassan to escape. Post-coup, life resumes its usual course. On Hassan's next birthday, Ali invites him inside to meet Baba and a man named Dr. Kumar, a plastic surgeon, who is Hassan's gift. Dr. Kumar explains his role in correcting physical deformities, causing Hassan to touch his lip. Following a successful surgery, Hassan recovers with a raw and swollen lip but maintains a joyful disposition. By the subsequent winter, only a faint scar remains of his cleft lip.
Winter marks an exciting time for Kabul's youngsters. The icy weather ushers in a break from school and an opportunity to fly kites. Amir and Hassan are taken by Baba to purchase kites from a renowned blind kite-maker. The pinnacle of the cold season is the annual kite-fighting contest, where participants coat their kite strings with broken glass to cut competitors' strings. The defeated kite drifts away, pursued by boys known as kite runners until it descends. The final fallen kite of the competition is viewed as a badge of honor. Hassan has a unique talent for kite running in Kabul, seemingly predicting landing spots before kites even fall.
In 1975, a kite tournament takes place in Amir's locality, a rarity because usually each district has its own competition. Baba's casual remark about Amir's potential win ignites in Amir an intense yearning for victory and Baba's approval. Amir performs well in the tournament, with only his and one other kite, a blue one, left in the final battle. He triumphs and his kite sends the other one flying loose. Baba signals for a distance between him and Hassan, who promises to retrieve the lost kite for Amir. As Amir bathes in the congratulatory messages and searches for Hassan, an elderly merchant reveals that Hassan has been pursued by some boys. Amir discovers Hassan cornered in an alley by Assef, Kamal, and Wali. They demand the blue kite from Hassan, who steadfastly refuses, claiming it rightfully belongs to Amir. Despite the imminent threat, Hassan maintains that he and Amir are friends. Assef's gang charges at Hassan while Amir, hidden from view, doesn't intervene. A memory surfaces for Amir; both he and Hassan were nursed by a Hazara woman named Sakina. He recalls a visit to a fortune teller with Hassan. A dream also comes to mind, where he is lost in a snowstorm, then suddenly the snow disappears, and he is surrounded by kites. The reality of the present snaps him back as he observes from afar, Hassan being brutally assaulted. All he does is flee the scene, while internally debating whether to help his friend. Amir spots a distraught and injured Hassan, holding the blue kite, walking towards him. He fabricates a story that he has been searching for Hassan. Upon returning home, Baba embraces Amir, who weeps silently into his father's chest, while the traumatizing event remains unspoken between the two boys.
Following the traumatic incident, Amir and Hassan find themselves drifting apart. On a trip to Jalalabad to visit Baba's cousin, Amir confesses his guilt over Hassan's assault during a sleepless night, unheard by the sleeping household. Back home, Hassan's attempts to reconnect are met with resistance by Amir, escalating to a point where Amir pelts Hassan with pomegranates in frustration. Yet, Hassan, in his characteristic gentle demeanor, refuses to retaliate. As school starts, Amir's isolation deepens. When he suggests to Baba that they could hire new servants, Baba rebukes him, declaring his unwavering loyalty to Ali and Hassan. The summer of 1976 brings Amir's thirteenth birthday and a grand party hosted by Baba. Amidst the celebrations, Amir has a disturbing encounter with Assef, who gifts him a biography of Hitler, which Amir promptly discards. An insightful conversation with Rahim Khan reveals his secret past love affair with a Hazara girl, drawing parallels with Amir's own feelings of guilt and regret. Rahim Khan provides a listening ear and gifts Amir a leather-bound notebook for his stories. The celebrations continue, with Amir spotting Hassan serving drinks to Assef and Wali, concluding the chapter on a note of tension and unease.
In the morning, Amir unwraps his gifts, contemplating that either Hassan has to depart or he does. Ali intercepts Amir later, handing over his gift—a new edition of “Shahnamah,” the storybook Amir used to read to Hassan. The subsequent day, after Ali and Hassan are gone, Amir stashes his birthday money and Baba's gift watch under Hassan’s bed, accusing him of theft. Upon their return, Baba questions Hassan about the alleged theft. Unexpectedly, Hassan confesses. Amir deduces that Hassan was aware of his alley incident and his current setup. Although Baba forgives Hassan, Ali insists they must move. Despite Baba's plea, Ali remains adamant. Amidst the rain, Amir observes Ali and Hassan's departure from the house.
In March 1981, Amir and his father Baba are fleeing Afghanistan for Pakistan, traveling in a truck with other refugees. Amir feels sick and worried he's shaming Baba. They left their home in secrecy, as the situation has grown dangerous. At a checkpoint, a Russian soldier demands time with a woman as the price of passage. Baba stands up to the soldier, risking his life until another officer intervenes. They reach Jalalabad, where they learn their onward transport is broken. Baba angrily confronts the truck driver, Karim, over this. For a week, they live in a basement with other refugees, including Kamal and his father. Kamal's in a bad state, his father reveals he was sexually assaulted. Eventually, Karim arranges a fuel truck for the next leg of their journey. The air in the truck is suffocating. They reach Pakistan, but Kamal has died during the ride. His father, devastated, wrestles Karim for his gun and commits suicide before they can stop him.
Now located in Fremont, California, Baba and Amir have been residing for almost two years. Transitioning to the U.S. life has not been easy for Baba, who works at a gas station. Once, he throws a fit at a local store for being asked for ID when making a payment by check, something unheard of back in Afghanistan. Amir suggests going back to Pakistan, where they initially stayed for visas, but Baba insists they moved for Amir's education. Upon Amir's graduation, they celebrate with a lavish dinner and a round of drinks at a bar. Amir also receives a Ford Grand Torino as a gift from Baba. Despite Baba’s disappointment, Amir decides to pursue a career in writing. Amir enjoys regular drives in his new car across varying neighborhoods and recalls the first time he saw the ocean. To him, America presents a chance to leave the past behind. In 1984, Baba purchases an old van and with Amir, they buy items from garage sales to resell at the flea market. Here, they meet General Taheri and his daughter, Soraya. Baba praises Amir's writing skills to General Taheri. Soraya and Amir share a glance and later, Amir asks Baba about her. Baba only knows of a failed romantic relationship she had. That night, Amir can't help but think about Soraya.
After a long period of attraction, Amir finally converses with Soraya when her father, General Taheri, is not around. During one such occasion, the General unexpectedly returns and disapproves of their interaction, reminding Amir of their shared culture and traditions. Despite being discouraged, Amir soon shifts his attention to his ailing father, Baba, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and adamantly refuses treatment. As Baba's health deteriorates, his condition worsens, with the cancer spreading to his brain. Numerous fellow Afghans visit him in the hospital. During one such visit, Amir requests Baba to seek Soraya's hand in marriage on his behalf. Baba happily fulfills his son's wish, with General Taheri giving his approval. When Soraya learns of the proposal, she insists on revealing her past to Amir; she once fled with an Afghan man, lived with him for a month before her father brought her back. Her absence caused her mother, Jamila, to suffer a stroke. Even though Soraya's past slightly disturbs Amir, he still wishes to marry her.
Amir and Baba attend a traditional ceremony at the Taheris' home, where they formally announce the upcoming marriage. Owing to Baba's declining health, the wedding preparations are expedited. Baba spends nearly all his savings on the wedding, including the ceremony hall, the ring, and Amir's tuxedo. At the wedding, Amir and Soraya share a romantic moment and he confesses his love for her. They spend their first night together. Soon after, Baba passes away. His funeral is filled with people he had helped, and Amir begins to grasp the impact his father had on his life. Amir only truly gets to know Soraya's family after their wedding. Soraya's father, General Taheri, doesn't work and relies on welfare. He also prohibits his wife, Jamila, a gifted singer, from performing publicly. Soraya shares her history with Amir, including the time her father forcibly brought her home after she had run away, and made her cut her hair. She tells Amir he is unlike any other Afghan man she's met before. In 1988, Amir completes his first novel. He manages to get it published and he and Soraya decide to start a family. Despite their efforts, they are unable to conceive and medical tests yield no answers. They consider adoption, but General Taheri disapproves of it. Uncertain, Amir agrees. As his writing career flourishes, he uses his earnings from his second book to buy a house in San Francisco with Soraya. Yet, their inability to have children remains a silent issue between them.
It's June 2001 when Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan, his old friend and first adult confidant, asking him to come to Pakistan. Rahim Khan is seriously sick. Amir informs his wife, Soraya, about his impending trip. He then takes a solitary stroll to Golden Gate Park. As he observes a father and son playing catch and kites soaring above, he recalls Rahim Khan's words from their phone conversation, who said there's a chance for Amir to redeem himself. Later that evening, as Amir and Soraya lay in bed, Amir reflects on their relationship. They still share physical intimacy, but it feels pointless. Their pillow talk, which once centered around future children, now merely revolves around mundane topics like work. As Amir falls asleep, he dreams of Hassan running through snowy landscapes. A week after this, Amir departs for Pakistan.
Amir arrives in Peshawar and meets Rahim Khan. The cab driver expresses his distress over Afghanistan's turmoil during the ride to "Afghan Town", a neighborhood bustling with vendors and cigarette-selling kids. Amir's mind wanders back to the last moment he saw Rahim Khan, two decades ago in 1981, when he and Baba were leaving Kabul. Upon reaching Rahim Khan's residence, Amir notes his frail appearance. Their conversation over tea circles around Amir's life with his wife Soraya Taheri, Baba's memories, and his novelist career. Rahim Khan expresses his confidence in Amir's writing skills and talks about Afghanistan's deteriorating conditions post-Taliban takeover. He shares a painful incident where he was hit by a rifle, leaving him with a scar. Rahim Khan reveals he lived in Baba's house since Amir and Baba's departure, maintaining it with a hope that Baba would return one day. However, Kabul's safety was compromised due to internal conflicts leading to random rocket attacks. Rahim admits his initial approval of the Taliban rule for its promise to end the unrest. Amidst their conversation, Rahim Khan starts coughing up blood, confirming Amir's suspicions about his health. He says he's on his deathbed and won't survive the summer. He explains his reason for calling Amir- he wanted to see him and also had a favor to ask. Rahim Khan tells Amir he lived with Hassan in Baba's house and proceeds to tell Hassan's story before revealing his request.
Rahim Khan shares his encounter with Hassan in Hazarajat in 1986. Besieged by loneliness and the difficulties of maintaining Baba's house alone due to his aging, he decided to seek out Hassan. Upon reaching, he met Hassan and his pregnant wife, Farzana, in their humble abode. He discovered Ali's unfortunate demise in a land mine accident during their conversation. Rahim Khan proposed the idea of moving in with him in Baba's house, but Hassan declined as he considered Hazarajat as their home. Hassan inquired about Amir and was deeply saddened upon hearing of Baba's death. Despite initial hesitation, by the following morning, Hassan agreed to return to Kabul with Rahim Khan. In honor of Baba, Hassan and Farzana resided in the tiny servant's hut and took up the responsibility of maintaining the property. Farzana suffered a miscarriage that fall but became pregnant again in 1990. That year, Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, returned in a decrepit state. Hassan and Farzana nursed her back to health, leading to a profound relationship between Hassan and his mother. Sanaubar became the midwife for the birth of Hassan's son, Sohrab, whom she adored. She lived until Sohrab turned four, marking the year as 1995, a time of political unrest with the Soviets exiting Kabul but internal conflicts among Afghan factions persisting. Despite the tense climate, Hassan instilled the love of reading and kite running in Sohrab. However, with the Taliban seizing control over Kabul in 1996, kite fighting was outlawed within a fortnight.
Amir contemplates his past with Hassan while in the company of Rahim Khan. He inquires about Hassan's presence in Baba's house and is given an envelope by Rahim Khan. Inside, there's a photograph of Hassan and a letter addressed to Amir. The letter reveals a changed Kabul and narrates a distressing incident of Farzana being physically abused. Hassan expresses his love for his son and informs Amir about Rahim Khan's poor health. He assures Amir of his unwavering loyalty, should he choose to return. Rahim Khan recounts an unfortunate incident that occurred a month after his arrival in Pakistan. The Taliban discovered Hassan and his family at Baba's house. They executed Hassan in the street for allegedly lying, and Farzana was killed when she attempted to intervene. Following the deaths of Hassan and Farzana, the Taliban occupied Baba's house and their son, Sohrab, was sent to an orphanage. Rahim Khan mentions an American couple in Pakistan who are willing to adopt Sohrab. However, Amir is reluctant to personally retrieve Sohrab from Kabul, proposing to send someone else instead. Rahim Khan asserts that Amir's personal involvement is crucial. He recounts a conversation with Baba, who expressed concern about a boy's inability to defend himself evolving into a man's inability to oppose anything. Rahim Khan then drops a bombshell: Ali was sterile. When Amir questions who Hassan's real father was, Rahim Khan implies that Amir already knows. Hassan was never made aware of this, due to the disgrace it would bring. An infuriated Amir accuses Rahim Khan and hastily leaves the apartment.
Following the revelations from Rahim Khan, Amir strolls to a nearby teahouse, tormented by guilt regarding his contribution to Hassan's demise. He recalls several indications of Baba being Hassan's biological father, including Baba funding Hassan's lip surgery and his emotional response to Hassan and Ali's departure. Baba had always viewed theft as the only sin, leading Amir to reflect on how Baba had robbed him of a sibling, Hassan of his rightful identity, and Ali of his dignity. This self-reflection leads to a realization of the similarities between him and Baba, especially their shared betrayal of closest friends. Rahim Khan's expectation of Amir was to seek redemption for both him and Baba's past indiscretions. As he returns to Rahim Khan's place, Amir understands it's never too late to stand up for himself. He recognizes that Hassan's legacy is still alive somewhere in Kabul. Once he arrives back at Rahim Khan's, he finds him in prayer and communicates his decision to locate Sohrab.
Rahim Khan entrusts Amir's journey back to Kabul to Farid, an old comrade who had battled against the Soviets and suffered the loss of two daughters to a land mine. Amir is disguised in traditional Afghan clothing and a fake beard for the trip. On reaching Afghanistan, Amir remarks on feeling like a stranger in his own homeland. Farid mocks Amir's comment, suggesting that Amir's privileged upbringing and years in America have distanced him from the reality of Afghanistan. They pause their journey at Farid’s brother, Wahid's tiny, dimly lit home. During their discussions, Wahid inquires about Amir's return, and Farid cynically assumes that Amir is back to sell his land and flee with the profits. After Amir reveals his mission to find and rescue his illegitimate half-brother, a Hazara boy, and bring him to Peshawar, Wahid commends Amir and welcomes him warmly. While Amir and Farid dine, Amir notices Wahid's children eyeing his wristwatch. He gifts it to them, but their fascination quickly fades. That night, Farid apologizes for his earlier assumptions and pledges to support Amir's quest. Haunted by a dream of himself shooting Hassan, Amir steps outside for some air and overhears Wahid and his wife arguing about their lack of food for the children because they fed Amir. He realizes the children were more interested in his food than his watch. As a gesture of gratitude and perhaps guilt, Amir leaves a considerable sum of cash under one of the mattresses before leaving the next day.
During their journey to Kabul, Amir and Farid witness the remnants of war, including abandoned Soviet tanks and ruined villages. Kabul, unrecognizable to Amir, is filled with beggars and rubble. The once abundant trees have been cut down by both Soviets and Afghans, for differing reasons. A Taliban patrol zooms past, eliciting a stern warning from Farid about the group's trigger-happy nature. An old man, once a literature professor and acquaintance of Amir's mother, concurs with Farid. Upon locating the orphanage where they suspect Sohrab to be, they meet the wary director, Zaman. Only when Amir reveals his familial connection to Sohrab does Zaman open up. The former carpet warehouse, now an orphanage, is overcrowded and lacking in essential supplies. Zaman hints at Sohrab's possible whereabouts and reveals the cruel bargain he's forced into with a Taliban official. This official offers money, but often leaves with a child. When Farid grows violent with Zaman, the sight of children nearby stops him. Zaman expresses his helplessness against the Taliban and justifies his actions as a means for providing for the kids. He informs Amir and Farid that Sohrab was taken a month prior and suggests they search for him at Ghazi Stadium.
Amir, guided by Farid, arrives at Baba's deteriorating home. He finds his old bedroom window and recalls witnessing Ali and Hassan's departure. He walks to the pomegranate tree they used to play at, but Farid urges him to leave. They spend the night in a rundown hotel. The next day, they attend a soccer game at Ghazi Stadium, where the crowd quietly watches the game on a dusty field. Halftime is marked by the arrival of the Taliban in red trucks. They unload a blindfolded man and woman and bury them to their chest in the field, amidst the woman's frantic screams. A cleric recites a Koran prayer and declares they are administering God's law. For sinning against God's house, the adulterers will be stoned, he proclaims. An official steps out of a truck, recognized by Farid and Amir as the one they are seeking, based on Zaman's description. The official executes the man and woman by stoning, leaving their bodies to be trucked away before the game resumes. Farid arranges a meeting with the official for personal matters, which the official agrees to.
Amir and Farid land at a house where a meeting with a Taliban official is set for Amir. Farid remains in the vehicle while Amir is escorted inside by two guards. An inkling of regret creeps up on Amir as he ponders whether he should have maintained his cowardice. The Taliban officer enters accompanied by bodyguards. After a formal exchange of greetings, one guard strips Amir of his fake facial hair. The officer queries Amir about the stadium spectacle and shares his disturbing joy of murdering families in their homes - referring to the Hazara massacre in Mazar-i-Sharif. The officer questions Amir about his American life, to which Amir confesses his quest to find Sohrab. On his cue, Sohrab is brought into the room, adorned in a blue silk attire with makeup and bells. The guards force him to dance until the officer signals them to leave. In the middle of a conversation, Amir identifies the officer as Assef from his past. In shock, Amir offers to buy Sohrab, but Assef dismisses the proposition stating money isn't his objective. He narrates an episode from his prison life where grievous beating led to the unexpected relief from a painful kidney stone, making him believe God was with him. Assef indicates his intention to cleanse Afghanistan, which Amir labels as ethnic cleansing, and asserts his demand for Sohrab. Assef pushes Sohrab towards Amir, declaring unfinished business with him. He informs the guards to let Amir go if he survives their encounter. Assef then dons a pair of brass knuckles. Amidst flashes of getting beaten by Assef, swallowing blood and teeth, Amir experiences an odd sense of relief and healing. Sohrab intervenes by threatening Assef with his slingshot and shoots him in the eye as he charges at him. Both Sohrab and Amir escape to Farid's waiting vehicle and flee the scene. Amir faints during their getaway.
Amir's consciousness swirls with images: a woman called Aisha, a mustachioed man, a familiar face. He dreams of his father wrestling a bear, but soon sees himself in the bear's place. Upon regaining consciousness, he finds himself in a Peshawar hospital. The faces he saw belong to doctors, the familiar one being Farid's. Amir's injuries are severe: a wired-shut mouth, a split upper lip, a broken left eye socket, cracked ribs, and a ruptured spleen. Farid and Sohrab visit him, and both receive his gratitude. Farid informs Amir that Rahim Khan has left, leaving behind a note. Rahim Khan's note reveals that he was aware of what transpired with Hassan. Although Amir's actions were wrong, Rahim Khan believes he was overly critical of himself. He acknowledges Amir's suffering under Baba's treatment, explaining that Baba's guilt over his inability to openly love Hassan often resulted in harsh behavior towards Amir. Rahim Khan points out the resulting good from Baba's guilt - his charitable acts like building orphanages and feeding the poor. Additionally, Rahim Khan leaves Amir a key to a safe-deposit box containing money for his expenses, requesting Amir not to search for him as his time is dwindling. The following day, Amir gives Farid the names of the American couple supposedly running the orphanage. He spends his day playing cards with Sohrab, who remains mostly silent. Feeling Peshawar is unsafe and learning the American couple never existed, Amir decides to move to Islamabad, taking Sohrab with him.
Amir and Sohrab reach Islamabad. Sohrab goes missing post Amir's nap but is found by Amir in a mosque's parking lot, due to Sohrab’s earlier interest in the mosque. They discuss their parents and Sohrab fears divine punishment for harming Assef. Amir assures him it was deserved, and Hassan would have been proud. Sohrab feels ashamed of his past abuse but Amir reassures him of his innocence and asks him to move to America. After a week of silence, Sohrab enquires about San Francisco but fears being abandoned or sent back to an orphanage. Amir reassures him this won't happen, and once Sohrab agrees to go to America, he informs his wife, Soraya. Amir visits the American embassy next. He learns that the adoption process is complex without death certificates to prove Sohrab is an orphan. Omar Faisal, an immigration attorney is recommended to Amir. Faisal confirms the complexity but suggests a temporary stay in an orphanage for Sohrab, while Amir files a petition and waits for the adoption approval. Upon hearing this possibility, Sohrab panics, fearing harm at the orphanage. He cries himself to sleep in Amir's arms. Soraya suggests a possible solution through their relative Sharif, who works in U.S. immigration, claiming Sohrab could potentially stay once he arrives in the U.S. When Amir goes to tell Sohrab this, he finds him unconscious and bleeding in the bathtub.
Sohrab is taken to the hospital for an emergency. Amir, waiting in the lobby, prays for the first time in over a decade and falls asleep. In his sleep, he dreams of Sohrab's suicide attempt. A doctor informs him that Sohrab has lost a lot of blood but will survive. Over the next few days, Amir stays at the hospital with the silent and unresponsive Sohrab. He tries to tell Sohrab about their plans to go to America, but Sohrab remains silent. Amir and Sohrab arrive in San Francisco in August 2001. General Taheri and Jamila visit them. During dinner, Amir explains about the Taliban and Kabul. The General is curious about Sohrab's Hazara identity. Amir reveals that Sohrab is Hassan's son and thus his own nephew. He insists that General Taheri should never refer to Sohrab as a “Hazara boy” again. Following the 9/11 attacks and subsequent events, Amir and Soraya aid in fundraising for a hospital at the Afghan-Pakistan border, while General Taheri is called to serve in Afghanistan. In March 2002, during an Afghan gathering in a park, Sohrab remains silent and withdrawn. When the rain stops, Amir buys a kite and asks Sohrab to fly it with him. Sohrab follows Amir, though he doesn't verbally respond. They engage in a kite battle with others, using a move from Hassan’s arsenal, which elicits an alertness in Sohrab and a fleeting smile. At the end of the battle, Sohrab agrees to run the kite. Amir, echoing his past with Hassan, tells Sohrab, “For you, a thousand times over,” and starts running.