A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Book Cover: A Thousand Splendid Suns (large)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.
Genre: Fiction
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.

44 comments


  1. I decided to read A Thousand Splendid Suns after reading all the rave reviews and throughly enjoyed it.

    I too felt so grateful for the things I have after reading this book. You selected the perfect quote. When I got to that line my soul cried out as well that yes, this is what I want. To make a difference in someone else’s life. To love and be loved.

    on January 15th, 2008 at 10:28 pm
  2. I was very moved by his Kite Runner. I have yet to read this book, but will wait a while. I’m afraid I might not be that impressed, since I expect highly of him, and I don’t want that to happen.

    on January 16th, 2008 at 5:49 am
  3. Same here! I just read A Thousand Splendid Suns and liked it, and I have The Kite Runner, but haven’t read it yet. Great review!

    on January 19th, 2008 at 11:26 am
  4. I didn’t think it could be better than “The Kite Runner”, but it moved me even more – perhaps because the stories centered more on women in “A Thousand Splendid Suns”.

    I liked your review. It’s hard to find the right words when a book just blows you away.

    on January 19th, 2008 at 11:46 am
  5. I am one of the few who didn’t love this book. Maybe it’s because I listened to it on CD. I think I missed the beauty of the language plus the narrator’s accent made it hard for me to follow. I am looking forward to reding “The Kite Runner.”

    on January 19th, 2008 at 9:16 pm
  6. [...] reviews Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled [...]

    on January 22nd, 2008 at 6:41 am
  7. i really liked this book, it only took me one day because i couldn’t put it down. i had read The Kite Runner a few months ago, and i was told by my teacher that i should read this one too.
    i liked this one much better, because of the characters and the story.

    on February 10th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
  8. Wow, I didn’t even realize I never responded to these comments! Thanks everybody for your thoughts.

    And to everybody else reading this book review, I know from my statistics that this is the number one most viewed post on my blog. But where are your comments? I love the interaction, so don’t be shy. Say hello, thanks, or your opinion. Looking forward to hearing from you!

    on March 13th, 2008 at 2:49 pm
  9. I haven’t read “The Kite Runner” yet but I loved “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. It is so beautifully written and a work of art. It totally made me appreciate what I have and gave me such a new perspective on what’s going on in the Middle East. I’m grateful for authors like Hosseini.

    on April 2nd, 2008 at 10:44 am
  10. Kim – You’ll have to read The Kite Runner. It’s beautiful and so sad at the same time! I’d be interested in knowing what you think.

    on April 2nd, 2008 at 2:06 pm
  11. Oh my…I just finished reading this book, and more than once, I was moved to tears. It’s an extremely powerful book.

    on April 12th, 2008 at 6:46 pm
  12. I was just woundering if a thousand splendid suns would be to challenging for a 12 year old girl in grade six. If not. Do u think the kite runner would be any diffuclter and easier??
    *zOeY*

    on April 13th, 2008 at 10:15 pm
  13. Ooops after I read my resend blog again I noticed I made a misstake! The last sentence was supposte to say: Do u think the kite runner would be any diffuculter or just right?
    Okay I fixed me misstake but I was just hoping Im not asking to many questions. Cause if i am i now it can be very annoying!

    on April 13th, 2008 at 10:26 pm
  14. Jill – Agree!

    Zoey – I do enjoy comments, so don’t hesitate. The actual reading itself may not be very difficult for you, however, the subject matter is very grime. I do know plenty of adults who can’t handle some of the images in both A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner. Even Jill above was moved to tears. It is a very stark reality with a lot of bad things happening to good people.

    Perhaps the best thing is to have either a parent, guardian, or teacher read the book beforehand or at the same time and then you can discuss whether it’s something that you might be able to handle.

    on April 13th, 2008 at 11:00 pm
  15. Thanks!

    Im actually reading “where the red fern grows” right now but when im finished Ill deffenitly look into it!…..

    Also Id like to thank You agin for answering all my questions!:)…………

    on April 14th, 2008 at 7:16 pm
  16. Zoey – I haven’t ever read Where the Red Fern Grows. Maybe I’ll check it out and I’ll read it at the same time as you. Then when I write my review you can respond with your thoughts!

    on April 15th, 2008 at 6:56 pm
  17. I’ve finished “where the red fern grows” and now im starting to read ” the bread winner.”
    Well i Live in canada, an I LOVE to read ” dear canada” There many many many different ones. But they are all diarys of girls. It could be a dirary of a girl that was in the holicast or titanic ect. Even though you don’t live in canada i think u should read one… im sure you would like it!

    on April 19th, 2008 at 1:17 pm
  18. I loved this one too. I’d read The Kite Runner the year before and someone gave me this one the week it was released. It took me forever to read it, because I kept being so emotionally impacted by it. I kept having to put it down and walk away- for minutes hours or even days (when he locks them in the bedroom). I am so glad I read it, but it totally took a piece out of me.

    on April 26th, 2008 at 6:00 pm
  19. Zoey – I haven’t heard of Dear Canada. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks!

    Lisa – I just don’t understand how people can treat each other sometimes. Reading What is the What was like that for me. I could only read it for a certain amount of time before I had to put it down.

    on April 26th, 2008 at 10:47 pm
  20. Yet another book that I have to read. I have so many in a pile around me I feel guilty checking out from the library, but may have to start to get to some of these.

    on April 27th, 2008 at 5:19 am
  21. Oh my, I can’t believe you haven’t read The Kite Runner yet. It made me even more emotionally, and I loved the way he wrapped things up. Many of my friends found it too sentimental, but I loved the parallels and circles he created.

    I got to see Khaled Hosseini speak shortly after A Thousand Splendid Suns was released. It was an incredible experience. The copy I got signed sits in a very protected part of my bookcase.

    on April 29th, 2008 at 10:31 pm
  22. Tracee – Read it!

    Liviania – I did read The Kite Runner after I read this one. This is the link:
    http://blog.mawbooks.com/2008/03/06/the-kite-runner-by-khaled-hosseini/

    on April 29th, 2008 at 10:36 pm
  23. True. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns both novels are very well written, they both touched my heart and made me sad and cry. but mostly I prefered reading The Kite Runner cuz’ it is so very touchy and sad.

    Khalid is justa great writer, proud to have such an author, he is just too good.

    go Khalid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    on May 2nd, 2008 at 6:04 am
  24. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read The Kite Runner since this post, but I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It’s an amazing read and moves much quicker than A Thousand Splendid Suns. And it touches on a lot of the same issues in Afghanistan’s history.

    on May 7th, 2008 at 7:55 pm
  25. I have read this one! A truly amazing book.
    http://readingtoolate.net/?p=140

    on May 9th, 2008 at 7:31 am
  26. Farida – Love your enthusiasim!

    Rebecca – I have since read The Kite Runner. I loved it although not as well as A Thousand Splendid Suns. But overall, I would highly recommend both. Here’s my Kite Runner review:
    http://blog.mawbooks.com/2008/03/06/the-kite-runner-by-khaled-hosseini/

    on May 11th, 2008 at 9:53 pm
  27. this book was so eye opening it really made me feel so grateful to be Canadian born and raised

    I found this book after readin the kite runner, and though i think the kite runner got more hype i think i preferred ‘a thousand splendid suns’

    I have already recommended it to a number of people

    on May 25th, 2008 at 2:50 pm
  28. I also preferred A Thousand Splendid Suns, but this one was excellent as well. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

    on May 27th, 2008 at 10:25 pm
  29. i was so touched by the kite runner book, i just had to read a thousand splendid suns. both books opened my eyes to the reality of Afghanistan, the country both my parents were born in. these novels were truly spectacular!!!!!

    on June 8th, 2008 at 9:00 am
  30. I’ve read The Kit Runner. It was an okay book. I would not reread it. There were parts in the book you could skip and miss nothing. The gist of the story was touching, but the reading to get meaning was slow. There are too many words to say so little. I could put it down for days to read a more interesting book. If A Thousands Splendid Suns is written as The Kit Runner I hesitate on reading it.

    on July 10th, 2008 at 6:42 am
  31. Farida W. – They were both great!

    yy4uuz – Oh, you shouldn’t hesitate on A Thousand Splendid Suns. The Kite Runner was his debut novel and A Thousand Splendid Suns just gets better. Read it!

    on July 13th, 2008 at 9:28 pm
  32. I loved ” A Thousand Splendid Suns” I didn’t want to put it down. I was excited every night to have a change to read the story of Merriam and Laila.. I could relate and feel the pain as I read every word! Excellent Work!

    Thatsagoodidea@hotmail.com

    on July 15th, 2008 at 9:44 pm
  33. I agree! This book is absolutely wonderful! It is one of my all time favorities now!

    on July 19th, 2008 at 9:03 am
  34. geez! can i be more spoiled?!?! can i be more brat-like to my parents?!?! at least i have parents!!!! =[

    on September 20th, 2008 at 6:24 pm
  35. "A Thousand Splendid Suns" was amazing. There is just no other word to describe it. I genuinely doubt that there can be an author more powerful with words and plot that Hosseini. Two words: Life changing.

    on October 10th, 2008 at 7:16 am
  36. Both “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” were just amazing reads. I’m looking for a new book to read. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions?

    on October 15th, 2008 at 9:48 pm
  37. Hosseini is a fantastic writer

    Coming in February, 2009

    If you love “Splendid Sun” you will love “True American” a novel by Arthur McClen
    http://www.amazon.com

    “True American”

    Thrust into war-ravaged Afghanistan, Zahir Nabi, an Afghan-American immigrant, and Christopher Stewart, an evangelical preacher, are forced to choose between forgiveness and justice.

    “True American is one of the most thought provoking, unpredictable, and moving stories I have ever read.”

    —Guile Branco, CEO, Bright Knight Entertainment

    In 1979, seven-year-old Christopher Stewart lived with his Christian fundamentalist family in Iowa. Thousands of miles away in Kabul, Afghanistan, seven-year-old Zahir Nabi lived a comfortable life with his fundamentalist Muslim family. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, both of the boy’s lives were set on a new course.

    As the communist army invaded, Zahir was forced to flee from his home. His family began a new life, in a strange city—a city straight from the action movies he watched in the Kabul cinema—Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Meanwhile, Christopher and his mom, Yvette, leave Iowa with a church group intent on converting the sinners in Las Vegas.

    Years later, Christopher and Zahir are thrust into the turmoil of war-ravaged Afghanistan after 9/11. The two must choose between the peace of finding forgiveness and the closure of justice.

    AUTHOR’S BIO
    Arthur McClen is a screenwriter for the feature film “Under the Same Sky” (in production, http://www.imdb.com), featuring some of Hollywood’s best talent. He does most of his writing from Los Angeles and Las Vegas. McClen and his wife, Teresa, enjoy spending their time with their one-year-old granddaughter.

    Why purchase a copy of “True American”? Because it is rare to find such a moving story. Purchase your copy at http://www.amazon.com

    For more information email http://www.TimelessDestiny@live.com

    on December 21st, 2008 at 1:39 pm
  38. I am a high school freshman and I had to read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” for my English class (A book club project). Of all the books there were to choose from, no one picked “Splendid Suns”. So that’s what I was left with. I didn’t think I would like a book about women in a different country, but it is frankly one of the most beautiful stories ever written. It’s so beautifully and honestly written. I cried reading it. Thank you for writing about this particular book! It was amazing!

    on November 3rd, 2009 at 5:56 pm
  39. Thank you for your continued comments! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book Erin.

    on November 4th, 2009 at 11:05 am
  40. i really liked the book and how it talked about how all different cultures have different traditions adn rules.

    on January 3rd, 2010 at 7:30 pm
  41. i really liked the book and how it talked about how all different cultures have different traditions and rules.

    on January 3rd, 2010 at 7:31 pm
  42. i cant explain feeling of reading this book, sipmly is powerful and macically

    on January 4th, 2010 at 11:07 am
  43. [...] blog reviews of this book:Maw’s BooksReadingAdventures   LikeBe the first to like this [...]

    on February 16th, 2011 at 9:48 am
  44. I already read both books and I can say, this is the best story I’ve ever read. Both books have there own unique story to offer and there are so many quotes that would keep on lingering to your mind even months after reading it. My fave quote in “The kite Runner” would always be “For you a thousand times over.” And for “A thousand Splendid Suns”, it would be “Behind every trial and sorrow that He makes us shoulder, God has a reason.”
    I’m so excited for Khaled’s next book. I hope it would keep on getting better and better!

    on February 23rd, 2011 at 6:48 am

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