Wow. Where do I ever begin on A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini? This was the type of book that truly makes you grateful that there are authors out there who have truly mastered the written word to create a story so important and stunning that it makes you want to begin again at page one as soon as finish the last.
This will definitely be on the top of my list as one of the best reads this year. I have yet to read The Kite Runner. It has been on my bookshelf forever, making me feel guilty that I haven’t yet discovered its words. I only hope that I won’t be disappointed and expect too much because I enjoyed this one so much. Edited: The Kite Runner since read and reviewed.
A Thousand Splendid Suns really makes you think about what the true life stories of Afghanistan’ women must be. It truly makes me look within myself and feel grateful for the freedoms of life that I enjoy and perhaps take for granted. Throughout the book whenever a date or year was mentioned I thought of myself. I literally brought myself into the story. Where was I that year? How old was I? What was I doing? How ignorant was I of others suffering? Now I can ask myself the questions: Where am I now? What am I doing? Am I trying to lessen my ignorance? Am I trying to help? What am I doing about it?
My favorite quote in A Thousand Splendid Suns is
. . . she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last.
As a friend, niece, aunt, daughter, sister, wife, and mother this is my hope, this is how I would like to leave the world. Someone who had loved and been loved back. Someone who was of consequence to this world, someone who made a difference to somebody.
I tried to think of how to best present a synopsis of this story, but I gave up. It is already written so beautifully from Khaled Hosseini’s own website:
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 the 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
I enjoyed what Khaled Hosseini said in his latest blog posting,
In Kabul, I spoke to a lot of people, hotel doormen, traffic cops, vendors, waiters, people in the government, doctors, nurses, etc. I heard stories about women who had been raped, beaten, imprisoned, humiliated, women who had seen their husbands blown to pieces, seen their kids starve to death. It was then that I saw the devastating effect that anarchy and extremism had had on these women. I saw for myself, for the first time, the enormity of the suffering that these women had endured. And I came away humbled by the fight that these women had in them, by their resilience and their courage. When I sat down to write A Thousand Splendid Suns, early in 2004, I kept hearing those voices in my head, I keep seeing those faces. And so I think that to a large degree, this book was inspired by the collective hardships, struggles, by the collective hopes and dreams of those women I met and spoke to. It my tribute to a group of people who have remained strong and resilient in face of incredible hardship.
If you have not read this book yet, get it now! Read it now! Don’t wait.
Links of interest: Visit Khaled Hosseini’s website for discussion questions, question and answers, and more book reviews and how you can help. More book blogger reviews.
Publisher: Riverhead. May 22, 2007.
Hardcover, 372 pages. ISBN 1594489505
Source copy: Library (since purchased)
A Thousand Splendid Suns is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.