A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I had been putting off reading this book for a really long time because I knew this book was going to get me uncomfortable and break my heart. Having read The Kite Runner, I had an idea about Hosseini’s writing style and the way he spins his stories. As the Taliban have again taken over some major cities in Afghanistan, I felt this was the right time for me to pick this book and understand the people and the political chaos taking place in the beautiful land of Afghanistan.

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.”

– Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is an infuriating and important historical fiction. This book is set in Afghanistan from the late 1950s to the early 2000s and gives us a detailed view of Afghanistan – from the Soviet invasion to the Taliban taking control and the post-Taliban phase.  

This story focuses on two Afghani women – Mariam and Laila married to an abusive husband. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini is the journey and hardships the two women endure in the war-torn period of Afghanistan.

Mariam –  

Mariam was born as an illegitimate child of a wealthy businessman, Jalil Khan. She lived with her mother in a small Kolba on the outskirts of Herat. Jalil visited her once a week. Mariam loved her father and wanted to live with him just like his other children.  In search of her father’s acceptance and a family, she went to Herat for the very first time. One thing led to another; Mariam was forced to marry Rasheed after her mother takes her own life. Mariam was only fifteen when she got married, and Rasheed was almost thirty years older than her. Her life goes downhill ever since she married Rasheed.   

“Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Mariam.” 

– Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Laila –  

Born almost two decades after Mariam; Laila is a chirpy young girl, full of life and dreams to achieve. A huge tragedy falls upon her. She loses her parents to the Taliban bombing. Circumstances force Laila and the love of her life to split. Orphaned and with a secret, Laila is left with no other option than to get married to Rasheed.  

An unnatural friendship blooms between Mariam and Laila in the difficult of times. Will their bond withstand all the pain they endure? 

“yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways and move them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism” 

– Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Honestly, A Thousand Splendid Suns put me through an emotional wringer. The realistic plot and narration make this book a must-read. This book is certain to make the readers sad but will also fill them with immense hope towards the end. The narration was engrossing and one can easily imagine the intensity of a particular scene. 

Every page had distressing events, and I wanted to DNF it a lot of times. The only reason I kept reading was for Mariam. Mariam represented millions of daughters, sisters and wives. I wanted Mariam to win. I was constantly wishing she would get the peace and happiness that every human deserved. I hated Rasheed. He is an elderly misogynist and an abusive husband. Although he had a tragic past, it did not justify his behaviour. The partiality he showed between the two children was not at all acceptable. I couldn’t stand him at all. 

Mariam losing her childhood, Laila longing for her mother’s affection made me realise that there are so many things we take for granted. Jalil Khan’s ending was quite emotional but I had developed a strong hatred for his character so it did not move me very much. There were so many times I felt furious and helpless that women were once treated in such a terrible manner.

You might also like – https://gentlepages.com/the-kite-runner-a-beautiful-story/

The plot is simple but the complex characters make A Thousand Splendid Suns an exceptional read. This story will give us good clarity on the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. Overall, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a heart-wrenching novel. This book is as good as The Kite Runner. Like always, there is Hosseini’s magical touch. His words are certain to move the hearts of the readers.

Get your copy – https://www.amazon.in/Thousand-Splendid-Suns-Khaled-Hosseini/dp/1408844443


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