Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Source: Purchased
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Edition: Hardcover, 415 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: 4/5

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.
A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love

I can’t say I ever truly had any intention in reading this despite the fact that I really enjoyed The Kite Runner. I don’t typically like reading realistic modern fiction because I find it depressing no matter how wonderful the story. However I found out that my mom had ordered it months ago and never touched it, so I took it and finally read it myself. Despite the depressing nature of the book I did really enjoy it and it managed to reach me in a way that most novels don’t.

Khaled uses the same technique he used in The Kite Runner so the ‘feel’ is the same, the writing remains as wonderful and flowing as it was in his previous book as well. Also like the Kite Runner there is a deep underlying sadness to the plot that you simply can’t help but feel as you read through it. The two main characters, Mariam and Laila, are wonderful and in their own ways strong. Mariam’s story was one that I found extremely sad as it progressed, but I found Khalid’s ability to capture how she was feeling perfect. There are the small things that she does that really connect her to you and you realize that even though you’ve probably never been in the same situation that you’ve felt that same frustration or that same hope. Laila’s story isn’t a happy one either but it brings in the hope for a better life. The relationship between these two was very realistic and believable. They didn’t immediately rush to support one another but they also didn’t remain utterly stone faced about the other either. This was really a heartbreaking book but it’s also one that’s a true eye opener to the cruelty that lies in other places.

This book really provokes emotions and pulled me into the story, to the point where I read it in two days and nearly cried numerous times. To me this is a book worth reading, it is by no means a light read and it will probably cause you to think and feel for the people who have really gone through situations such as these. It does contain abuse in multiple ways so if you don’t want to read about such things this isn’t for you, this is by no means an easy read. I really enjoy Khaled’s writing and if he has written anything else I plan to find it and if not I’ll be on the look out for if he does again.

4 stars

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