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The Kite Runner begins with our thus-far nameless protagonist explaining that the past cannot be forgotten. A single moment in time defined him and has been affecting him for the last twenty-six years. This moment was in 1975 when he was twelve years old and hid near a crumbling alleyway in his hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan. When the protagonist's friend, Rahim Khan, calls him out of the blue, he knows that his past sins are coming back to haunt him even in the new life he has built in San Francisco. He remembers Hassan, whom he calls "the harelipped kite runner," saying "For you, a thousand times over." Rahim's words also echo in his head, "There is a way to be good again." These two phrases will become focal points for the rest of the novel and our protagonist's story.