January 9, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

BOOK #: 2
CHALLENGES: 21 Cultures, Centuries Challenge, 9 in 2009, Triple 999, New Authors
RATING: 5 Stars

This book is about two women, Mariam and Laila, who live in Afghanistan, and whom we first learn about as girls. They come from two different worlds even though they live in the same country and only one generation apart. But one dark, fateful day their lives become intertwined and they are forever connected.

The story is filled with vivid details and multi-layered characters, is steeped in Afghan history, and delves into the contrasts of culture in a country where tradition fights rigidly against the modern.

I learned so much about Afghanistan's history and the enormous burdens that befell the country and its people from the days of the Soviet invasions to the aftermath of the current war. The personal stories of these girls turned women that all of this history is told through are amazing. They are strong and courageous, intelligent and warm. What they must live through, not only as a result of living during these times, but also as a result of their personal lives, simultaneously breaks your heart and makes you proud of them for their endurance.

In fact, I loved this book so much that I kept making myself stop reading so I could enjoy it for longer! It definitely lives up to its reputation. And if you feel you can't read it because you have not read Hosseini's previous book, The Kite Runner, don't worry because the two are unrelated. They are about the same country, but the story and characters are all different.

I am anticipating Hosseini's next novel. I don't normally anticipate the coming of anyone's books, but I have to say that I am imaginatively curious about what story Hosseini will grace his readers with next.

Other Reviews of A Thousand Splendid Suns:


  1. Lovely review. I'm hoping to read both this and The Kite Runner soon.

  2. Thank you. I have the Kite Runner on my list to read next as well. :)

  3. This book was very difficult to read for me; both it, and The Kite Runner, remain so upsetting I still feel like I've just read them. The way that human beings describe one another, depicted by this author, is inexecuable to me. I'm still mad at the boy for turning his back while his friend was being raped in The Kite Runner. However, I know of many, many people who feel as you did in this review: they thought it was excellent. The writing was, to me, but the ideas were just horrific.

  4. I loved this book too. I love your comment about stopping reading to enjoy it longer....exactly what I did! This is a story that will haunt you, just like the Kite Runner. It's truly amazing how many different cultures and perspectives on life there are in our world. Love your review! You write really well :)

  5. I read and reviewed this recently as well--it's such a poignant book, isn't it?

  6. Thank you for the compliments and all of your comments! :)

    I agree that the ideas in these two books are very difficult to read. However, the fact remains that these very events are happening to real people right now in this world- and worse. We can ignore it or we can face it so that we can help each other, empathize with each other, connect with each other, and realize we are not just individual pieces in this world, but we are all connected through this crazy thing called the human experience. Hosseini is such a wonderful writer that he can truly bring that to the forefront of our reality, which is what makes it both so absorbing and yet so heartbreaking at the same time.


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