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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Synopsis

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Sheds light on Afghan history and people


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is an astonishing account of a revolutionary thirty years of Afghanistan’s history that tells about love, sacrifice, and the importance of kinship. It is a fictional anecdote of two women born into different generations, Mariam and Laila, whose lives coincidentally merge and end up under the same roof purely by fate. Mariam is forced into marriage at a young age to an old, portly shoemaker named Rasheed who resides at Kabul, far from her home in Herat.

After Mariam undergoes a set of miscarriages, Rasheed starts to detest and molest her. Laila takes the place of Mariam as the young wife of Rasheed, and Mariam comes to despise her for taking away her prestige as first wife. But as the two women together undergo national war, husband’s beatings, and eventually equal hatred from Rasheed, they gradually develop a robust camaraderie.

The relationship evolves to a mother-daughter like bond, and they demonstrate the heroic and heartbreaking sacrifices a mother makes for the safety of her family. Love serves as the quintessential force that keeps them from giving up the insuperable pain and loss brought to them by the brutal husband and an unforgiving war. A Thousand Splendid Suns sheds light into Afghan life through the eyes of two very distinct women – an extraordinary case in the male dominated Afghan society.


Review

A Heart-Wenching Page Turner


Anyone who was left heartfelt after reading Khaled Hosseini’s first novel, The Kite Runner will unquestionably relish his follow-up novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. The author does not abstain from vividly painting the intolerable events that may seem archaic and other-worldly to the western audience and unveils the abusive and agonizing lives of Afghanistan in a rather reader-friendly fashion.

Hosseini employs a rather unique structure in writing this novel to introduce two very different women that by chance meet and form an unlikely relationship. The novel is divided into three large parts composed of several chapters. Part one tells the story of Mariam- her childhood in Herat to the forced marriage with Rasheed in Kabul. Part two chronicles the story of Laila, a teenage girl who falls in love with the neighborhood boy and receives an education unlike most Afghan women. The third part marks the milestone in which the lives of Mariam and Laila amalgamate into one story and also serves as an omen for the gradual the loving relationship they will come to form in sharing the same husband. The author tells and progresses the same story from two different views by labeling each chapter either Laila or Mariam. In doing so, it is possible to see the same situation from the eyes of the two distinct women of different generations and backgrounds.

Through the main characters, Mariam and Laila, Hosseini demonstrates what it means to be a woman living in the highly male-centered Afghan society where women’s sole purpose is for reproduction. By going in depth to the lives of two Afghan women, Hosseini strongly implies that each and every woman hidden behind her burka is a unique individual with her own unspoken life.

Ultimately, Hosseini amplifies the western audience’s limited knowledge and awareness of Afghanistan. In turn, he portrays the Afghans as loving, breathing, and feeling human beings that are no different from the readers themselves. As Hosseini is the first Afghan author to publish a book in English, A Thousand Splendid Suns serves as an adequate starting point to better understand and develop empathy for the people of Afghanistan.

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Author Khaled Hosseini

Author Biography

Khaled Hosseini, born on March 4, 1965, is an Afghanistani American novelist. He is the author of Kite Runner, the first novel published in English by an author from Afghanistan. The novel topped the Amazon bestseller charts and was voted 2006's reading group book of the year. The film version of the novel has been recently released. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, reached #2 on the Amazon bestseller list. Columbia Pictures has already claimed the rights to produce a film based on this novel.

Links

Khaled Hosseini's Official Homepage
Amazon: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseni IMDB Profile
Youtube: Hosseini Discusses his 2nd Novel