6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
The Kite Runner’s controversies spread futher than the literary world. The most notorious scene of the book, in which narrator Amir watches his (unbeknownst to him) half-brother Hassan get raped by Afghan Nazi sympathizer and youthful sadist Assef, also made it into the film, a move that caused the actors in the scene to receive death threats from their classmates.
Apart from the aforementioned act of homosexual rape, the remaining sexual encounters were far less graphic, and between consenting heterosexual adults. The “most offensive language” in the book probably ties into the religious viewpoint, as some are prejudiced against the novel’s devout Muslim characters and the portrayal of Islamic culture.
These all distract from the successes of Hosseini’s book, as the ethical challenges faced by many of the characters, harrowing escapes from danger, and heartwarming moments of redemption all make for a novel that should not be challenged nor banned.
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