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The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner


by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner Chapter 23 Summary

  • Amir is in the hospital. He's coming in and out of consciousness. He remembers riding in a car with a boy (Sohrab) and someone who's driving way too fast (Farid). Beeps, the faces of his nurse and doctor, Farid, and memories of Soraya.
  • Amir even imagines he's in the Sulaiman Mountains with Baba. Baba seems to be wrestling a bear. It's a nasty fight. Amir realizes that he is actually wrestling the bear. He is Baba. He wakes up and sees Sohrab and Farid. Blacks out again.
  • Amir is awake long enough to add names to some faces and figure out what's going on. His doctor's name is Armand. He's in a hospital in Peshawar. Assef broke a few of Amir's ribs, punctured a lung, split his upper lip in two (there's a nod to Hassan's harelip), and more. Amir can't even open his mouth. But he's going to be OK.
  • Farid and Sohrab visit Amir. Amir formally meets Sohrab – the showdown at Assef's didn't really allow time for chitchat. Farid tells Amir that Rahim Khan has left him a letter.
  • Here's the important stuff from Rahim Khan's letter: Rahim Khan says Hassan told him a few days after the alleyway incident what happened. So Rahim Khan knew about the rape all along. He also says he's ashamed he and Baba didn't tell Amir that Hassan was his half-brother – that they lied for so many years.
  • Rahim Khan opens up a little about Baba, too: how much Baba loved Amir, how hard Baba was on Amir, how Baba couldn't love Hassan openly. Finally, Rahim Khan tells Amir he's left him some money in a bank in Peshawar.
  • Amir gets a much-needed morphine injection.
  • Amir takes a look at his face in a mirror the nurse hands him. He looks terrible. He and Farid agree that the sooner they get out of Afghanistan, the better. Farid goes off to look for Thomas and Betty Caldwell, the American couple in Peshawar who are supposed to adopt Sohrab.
  • Amir and Sohrab play a card game called panjpar. Sohrab tells Amir that his father, Hassan, said Amir was "the best friend he ever had" (23.97).
  • A nurse's assistant helps Amir walk around. Amir and Sohrab play panjpar the whole next day. That night Amir dreams Assef is standing in the doorway to his hospital room. Assef says something to the effect that Amir is really his twin, not Hassan's, even though Hassan and Amir nursed from the same breast. Go away, Assef.
  • Amir decides to leave the hospital. It seems kind of rash, but he's probably got to get out of Afghanistan. He's going to drop Sohrab off at the Caldwell orphanage and ditch this country. One problem: Farid informs Amir the Caldwells don't exist.
  • Amir and Farid get Rahim Khan's money from the bank. They decide Sohrab should go to Islamabad, Pakistan with Amir.
  • Amir sleeps most of the way to Islamabad. Amir dreams a lot. He only remembers bits and pieces of the dreams, which seem more, actually, like memories: Baba marinating lamb; making love with Soraya; a trip to the strawberry fields in Jalalabad with Baba and Hassan; the blood dripping from Hassan's pants after the rape.

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