Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Hi all,

I bring you a review for fantastic story; I came across a copy of this at a local bookstore and I had heard so many good things about it, so I brought it home with me and I was not disappointed with it at all. 

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Turning a few pages in, it was evident that this story was never going to be a happy one; at least not at first. The trials that these women had to endure, like most of the women in Afghanistan were almost unthinkable at times. I read eagerly, letting the words help to picture the varying years of Afghan history. Thirty years were spanned and I lapped up every single word. The descriptions were so brilliantly done that I could picture the areas that both women were brought up in; I pictured the destruction and the pain, along with the brutality, but I also pictured the humanity and the love. I read and followed a community that was rocked by war, families who were touched by wars unrelenting torture and I read as they tried to live amongst the rubble that had become their lives. I felt the frustration for the women of Afghanistan and the almost intolerable circumstances in which they were forced to live. As the story spanned over the 30 year history, I cried for the women who survived each day painstakingly; the women who were the backbone of every household, the women who held their families together, the women who took the beatings and violence, the women who lived an existence that was overshadowed by a man. It was refreshing to read a story that also showed the families where the male/female roles were more relaxed; it showed the men and women who loved one another, the men and women who fought as equals and it showed the steadfast loyalty that they had for each other. 

I could talk and talk about this book for a long time. Sometimes, I find a book that truly moves me and this book did that. I truly opened my eyes to the history of Afghanistan and it made me so grateful for the life that I am allowed to live freely.

This story was created by a fantastic author, one who is now going to be added to my ‘Favourites’. I have wanted to read his work for so long and I have always added his books to my TBR list but never picked one up. I am so glad I started with A Thousand Splendid Suns….before I go on a bigger ‘writing rampage’ about this book then lets see a little bit about the man himself…


About the Author

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Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His father was a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Farsi and history at a high school in Kabul.

In 1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. They were ready to return to Kabul in 1980, but by then their homeland had witnessed a bloody communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army. The Hosseinis sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980 moved to San Jose, California. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1988. The following year he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned a medical degree in 1993. He completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles and was a practicing internist between 1996 and 2004.

In March 2001, while practicing medicine, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, which was published by Riverhead Books in 2003. That debut went on to launch one of the biggest literary careers of our time. Today, Khaled Hosseini is one of the most recognized and bestselling authors in the world. His books, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed, have been published in over seventy countries and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
In 2006 Khaled was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

He lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Source:https://khaledhosseini.com/bio/


About the Book

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A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love—a stunning accomplishment


My Review

This was an heart-wrenching, harrowing, eye-opening and at times uplifting story; this book took me on an incredible journey through a land which I was fairly unfamiliar with. The history combined with the story helped to create a thrilling read; I was enthralled by the lives of both Mariam and Laila. I laughed with them; grieved with them and cried with them, always willing them forward and hoping that both would see a brighter, happier future. This book was relentless at times and I felt the pain that was inflicted on these poor women; both physically and mentally. And my eyes were opened to what life in Afghanistan is like, especially if you happen to be the wrong gender. The timeline spanned over 30 years and through that time we saw changes that were brought on by the ever-brutal war. A war that was raged by those in power, a war that affected its civilians savagely. I read with tears in my eyes at the injustice that was caused by the Taliban; the injustices being inflicted upon those who did not follow the same faith, or those that tried to fight back and I read with a heavy ache in my heart for all of the women both in this book and for those who today still live in a world that is limited to them because they are not what is deemed to be the right sex. But to say that this book is solely just about the suffering would not do it justice. This book is more than the violations, more than the forced underage marriages, more than the rape and torture….this book celebrates the strength and tolerance of those women.

Here we have women who born endless children, women who endure torture and beatings within their own homes. They cook, clean and look after children from morning until night; they force themselves to lie with husbands who bully them mentally and physically. These women never lose their faith, they are led around under cover and carry out their duties with pride and in silence. This book is further proof that women are strong, reliable, unbreakable beings. Some of the men depicted in this book may think that they are ‘above’ women in the hierarchy just as it says in their Quran but really these men forget where they would be without these women. It is the women who hold up the household, the women who carry the children, the women who work relentlessly day and night. 

This book gave me a lot of food for thought, it is certainly a book that will stay with me for a long time. I loved Mariam and I loved Laila…

Remarkable writing by the author. His words held me from the start and I will be ensuring that ‘The Kite Runner’ is added to my TBR list.


Conclusion

Well, you have read my review….so could I really give this book anything less than 5 stars!? It is absolutely amazing! A brilliant piece of writing….definately worth reading if you haven’t done already.

5 Stars!!

 

S x

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