Monday, 24 September 2018

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
First published by Riverhead Books in May 2007.

How I got this book:
Gift from my sister

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

I first read A Thousand Splendid Suns just over a decade ago (according to Goodreads). I remember reading it in a Scottish holiday chalet, having borrowed it from their library, and being happy that it is such a fast read because I needed to finish before it was time to leave! I loved the story then, as I did this time around, however I notice that I have matured as a reader over the past ten years because I wasn't as blindly impressed.

Following in the wake of Hosseini's lauded novel The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on the female experience in Afghanistan. I don't think it has anywhere near the same depth though. The story zips along at a good pace and, don't get me wrong, this is a very readable novel. I easily got caught up in Mariam and Laila's lives, feeling sorrowful or angry on their behalf as they are pulled from pillar to post seemingly without being allowed to make any decisions for themselves. Mariam and Laila suffer greatly through their lives yet always seem to remain dignified and almost noble, and I felt the male characters stayed rather flat. Rasheed in basically brutish and Tariq is nice. Hosseini has obviously written with a Western audience in mind so, disappointingly, I didn't feel I got much detail of Afghan culture other than those aspects depicting female oppression and I wanted more. I would describe A Thousand Splendid Suns as the fast food of Middle Eastern literature. It's great while I was reading, but turned out ultimately to be unsatisfying.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Khaled Hosseini / Contemporary fiction / Books from Afghanistan

8 comments:

  1. I've heard about this, but never read it. It sounds like a very interesting and informative book though!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It's very readable, but if you're new to Hosseini's writing I'd say start with The Kite Runner

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  2. This has been on my radar for a while it's disappointing this sounds like it was watered down to be really marketable. Great Review!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. It didn't feel watered down on my first read, but having read a good number of ownvoices novels since then, it was interesting to see how differently I perceived A Thousand Splendid Suns this time around

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  3. I thought this was a decent read but I preferred the emotional impact of The Kite Runner. I cried so much reading that book!

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    1. The Kite Runner I think is the best of Hosseini's I have read so far

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  4. oh I have heard wonders about this author's writing and books specially the kite Runner and this one. Glad you enjoyed it. I HAVE to read the Kite runner next year!

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    1. Absolutely! Get The Kite Runner to the top of your TBR!

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