The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner Chapter 19 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The chapter opens with Amir carsick again. Amir is in a car with Farid, his driver, on his way to Kabul to find Sohrab.
- Amir tries Farid's home remedy for motion sickness: a lemon. It doesn't really work, but there's some class tension between Amir and Farid. Amir can't really refuse the lemon without seeming like a snob.
- They make it through the checkpoint at the border. They've made it to Afghanistan. Amir sees a burned-out Soviet tank. More tension between Farid and Amir since Amir fled to America and didn't experience the upheaval of the 1980s and 1990s. Farid pulls over and Amir gets sick.
- They stay the night in Jalalabad with Farid's brother, Wahid. There are three young ragamuffins running around who belong to Wahid and his wife. Wahid asks what Amir does in America – Amir says he's a writer. Wahid asks if Amir writes about Afghanistan. Amir gives a summary of some dreadful novel he wrote and says, in response to the Afghanistan question, that he's not "[...] quite that kind of writer" (19.56). Cue uncomfortable moment. Wahid handles it gracefully.
- Wahid's wife serves everyone tea. Farid accuses Amir of returning to Afghanistan to sell his land and make money. Wahid isn't having any of it. He tells Farid to get some manners. What does all this tell us? Farid has some issues with wealthy people; Amir feels like an outsider; and Wahid is a good host.
- With some prodding, Amir tells them why he's really in Afghanistan: to rescue a Hazara boy named Sohrab. Farid is ashamed of himself.
- They eat. Amir notices that Wahid's kids seem to be staring at his wristwatch. He gives it to them but they lose interest in it very quickly. Farid says he'll help Amir find Sohrab. Everyone retires to bed.
- Amir has a dream about Hassan (at least we think it's a dream – it could be some sort of late-night daydream since Amir has trouble sleeping). In the dream, Amir sees soldiers around Hassan at Baba's house; they execute him. Amir catches a glimpse of one of the soldier's faces: it's Amir.
- Amir walks outside. He feels a pang of nostalgia for Afghanistan. He also realizes Wahid's kids weren't staring at his watch at dinner – they were staring at his food.
- Farid and Amir skedaddle. But before they leave, Amir leaves a wad of cash underneath a mattress in Wahid's house.
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