A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In September, I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You may recall that I read and enjoyed his other award-winning novel, The Kite Runner, earlier this year.

This book truly took hold of me, and did not let go until the final words had been read. I devoured it. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a powerful read, a story that is somehow disturbing and beautiful, all at the same time. I suppose it is life's hardships that bring out the strongest in all of us, and there is no question that the women in this book are fighters. They fight for each other, their families, and themselves. One of the characters in this book makes the ultimate sacrifice for friendship and family, and reading it shook me to the core.

At the beginning of this story, we are introduced to Miriam, an Afghan girl who is the illegitimate daughter of a rich man in the city of Herat. She is raised alone by her mother in a small kolba, but she greatly loves and admires her father, who pays her weekly visits.

After tragedy strikes in Miriam's life, she is forced to marry and move to Kabul. Her husband, Rasheed, is a shoe maker. Just as Miriam settles into her new life as a wife in Kabul, things change for the worse.

Years pass, and soon we are introduced to another female character, Laila, who is the young daughter of some of Rasheed and Miriam's neighbors. The families do not have a relationship with each other, but when war breaks out in Afghanistan and Laila experiences a horrific tragedy of her own, the lives of Miriam and Laila soon become connected in a way that neither would have ever expected.

I won't say much else for fear of giving away too much of the story, but I cannot stress how much I loved this book. It is perhaps the best one I have read in years, and quickly soared to the top of the list of my all-time favorites. I loved it all the way through the last page.  

A Thousand Splendid Suns affected me in a way no book has done in a really long time. When I closed it for the last time, I actually said to myself, "Wow." It's just a beautifully written, wonderfully constructed book with characters you will actually care for. I cannot recommend it enough.

As always, the comments are open to any and all comments about this book. If you have not read it, beware of spoilers! You have been warned. :)


Vanessa October 23, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

This book gripped me like no other. I can't forget the images - the husband making the women eat stones... the description was so vivid, the stories so harrowing. An amazing read, and I definitely don't say that lightly. Really glad you reviewed this.

Anonymous,  October 23, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

This is the first book that ever made me cry, and still has not left my thoughts. It was, as you said, a beautiful, tragic story.

~Kristen M.

Mrs. D October 24, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

Miriam's story was so heartbreaking. All the people in her life, hurting her again and again. It was wonderful that she finally found a confidante and friend - even in such an unexpected place.

Melissa October 25, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

I also loved this book. It deeply touched my heart! I find myself searching for news on Afghanistan. This story was SO good, so full of sorry, and resiliency. Everyone should read it!

Sara October 27, 2009 at 5:37 AM  

I read this book last year (after reading Kite Runner on my husbands reccomendation) I too had the "wow" reaction afterwards. It is so sad, yet beautiful. very compelling read

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