The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner Chapter 20 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- Amir and Farid drive from Jalalabad to Kabul – there are "grim reminders" of the wars everywhere, like burned tanks (20.2).
- Farid has become "chattier" with Amir ever since he learned the reason for Amir's trip. They enter Kabul.
- Kabul isn't quite the same, to put it mildly. Shopping districts have been leveled, there are beggars everywhere, and the tree-lined boulevards no longer have any trees. The smell of diesel generators – the city's electricity is unreliable – burns Amir's eyes.
- A Toyota truck filled with Taliban militia drives past. Amir stares at them and Farid chastises him.
- Amir talks to a beggar. In the unlikeliest of coincidences, the beggar used to teach with Amir's mother at the university. Amir gets a few details about his mother, whom, if you remember, died giving birth to Amir. She sounds nice.
- Amir and Farid pull up to the orphanage where they hope to find Sohrab. It's a mess: splintered walls, boarded windows, cratered streets, etc. The director comes out to meet them.
- When they show the director the photo of Sohrab, he barely looks at it and says: "I am sorry. I have never seen him" (20.71). Suspicious. After explaining they're not with the Taliban, that they're trying to take the child to an American couple, and that Amir is the boy's half-uncle, the director lets them in.
- Amir also mentions that Sohrab is good with a slingshot. Could this be important for later events in the novel?
- It's not much better inside. Some of the steel-frame beds don't even have mattresses. The director complains about a lack of funding from the Taliban. The sad thing is, he says, these kids probably have it better than the kids on the street. The director also says they may have arrived too late to save Sohrab.
- The director tells Amir and Farid that a Talib official comes by the orphanage occasionally to buy children. Since the director doesn't have any money to run the place, he takes the money.
- Farid gets crazy angry and starts choking the director. Amir has to convince Farid not to kill the director.
- The director, does, however, give our heroes some very useful information: the Talib official who buys the kids will be at Ghazi Stadium the next day.
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