Somehow I missed the audio version of Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel, The Kite Runner when it was released earlier this year. But I've caught up and highly recommend it, even to those who have already read the book. What takes this poignant coming-of-age story far from the usual is its Afghan setting, so hearing its author read as he does so well here using the proper pronunciation of Afghan names, places and terms of respect, enhances its reality, easing the listener into a culture that's so important for us to understand. Amir, the son of a wealthy, gregarious, bigger-than-life Kabul kingpin, narrates the tale of his complex, conflicted friendship with Hassan, the son of their household servant. Amir's betrayal of that friendship colors his whole life and leads to a dark and difficult redemption played out against the harsh panorama of Afghanistan's war-ravaged, Taliban-tormented recent history. A provocative, vivid audio experience.

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