The tone of The Kite Runner is both remorseful and nostalgic. From the very beginning, Amir’s ominous references to his childhood wrongdoing create a sense of inescapable regret. For example, Amir hints at “the winter that Hassan stopped smiling,” and how he “saw Hassan run a kite for the last time.” The reader gathers that Amir’s relationship with Hassan will become irreparably broken by his own doing. After this is confirmed with Hassan’s rape, Amir continues to wallow in remorse, believing himself to be nothing but a coward who did whatever it took to earn Baba’s affections. At times, Amir’s sorrow combines with his melancholic nostalgia, not only for his once-idyllic days with Hassan, but for the Afghanistan of his youth. As he describes the night he hides from the first gunshots and explosions, Amir says “the generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born.” Throughout The Kite Runner, Amir longs for the former peace of Afghanistan, for the smells of Afghan food in the markets, and the pomegranate tree he once sat under with Hassan. In the last scene of the novel, when Amir kite-fights in America with Sohrab in tow, he imagines “white-clad trees” and smells “sawdust and walnuts,” markings of his home country. Hosseini’s inclusion of these nostalgic details implies that Amir can never entirely escape his country of origin.

Read about the tone of remorse in Charles Dickens’s novel, Great Expectations.