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A review of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Lacarter

A review of A Thousand Splendid Suns


By Lacarter (created: 14/12/2012)

Read more reviews by Lacarter

After reading Hosseini’s Kite Runner I jumped straight into a Thousand Splendid Suns and was rewarded with yet another fantastic book that I couldn’t put down but what a tragic story. Far from the happy ending that we have come to expect, Hosseini shocks us with a gritty believable account of the lives of Afghanistan’s women.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is very similar to Kite Runner in the sense that it is about Muslims living in a war ridden Afghanistan and the self-sacrifice of one friend to ensure a better life for the other. Those are the only similarities though. Where Kite Runner is based upon two boys who are born together and grow together a Thousand Splendid Suns is about two women who are thrown together and have to learn to love each other.
We follow the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila. Mariam is the illegitimate child of a wealthy businessman and when her mother dies she is hastily married off to an older businessman, Rasheed. Laila is a young girl who lives in the same street as Mariam and Rasheed in Kabul and when her parents are killed by a bomb she is taken in by Rasheed. Life for the two women becomes an unbearable journey where they will depend upon each other to survive.
For me this was a real eye opener to what life is really like for Muslim women. It is still common practice for men in Afghanistan to have more than one wife and due to women’s oppression and Afghanistan’s economic problems these women are unable to change this situation. Women depend fully on these men as they are unable to work, drive cars, gain an education and even move around without the escort of a man.
Hope and oppression are major elements of this story, not just for the main characters but also for Afghanistan on a whole. It seems that people place their faith in something, like the Afghans did with the Taliban and then when the event comes to be it turns out they are even more oppressed than before. Mariam placed her faith in Jalil only to be failed and forced to marry Rasheed, she then places her faith in Rasheed hoping that she can please him but over time even this doesn’t work. Laila places her faith in Tariq hoping for a good life with the man that she loves but due to unforeseen circumstances this does not happen. In the end the only chance of happiness is by huge sacrifice. Is this what Hosseini is saying about Afghanistan in a whole? That Afghanistan’s only chance of happiness is by the peoples sacrifice?
Another major element of the story is the female bond. The bonds that are formed between the women give them the strength to stand up and in cases defeat the men. Jalils wives stand together and pressure him into forcing the marriage between Mariam and Rasheed. Later on in the story Mariam and Laila form a strong bond that will overcome even death for without the sacrifice of one the other would not be able to live a life of happiness.
This book for me allowed me to remember that life should not be taken for granted. I am eagerly anticipating the release of Hosseini’s third novel And the Mountains Echoed in May 2013.


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Reviewed Book

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Khaled Hosseini

A riveting and powerful story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship and an indestructible love

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