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« Hostile Takeover, by David Sirota | Main | Fiasco: The American Military Adventure, by Thomas Ricks »


A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

By an everyday book reader
May 1, 2007

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul - they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

With heart-wrenching power and suspense, this author, a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the U.N. Refugee Agency, shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled HosseiniBook Picture

Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN: 9781594489501, 1594489505
Riverhead
May 2007

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

"... Hosseini succeeds in carrying readers along because he understands the power of emotion as few other popular writers do. As he did in The Kite Runner, he uses a melodramatic plot to convey vividly the many aspects of love and the ways people sacrifice themselves for those they hold dear. With A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini has shown that he doesn't intend to be a one-hit wonder. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here." - Lisa See - The New York Times

"[The book] going to be another bestseller no matter what's said about it in this and other reviews, so maybe there's no point in going further. But just in case you're curious, just in case you're wondering whether in yours truly's judgment it's as good as The Kite Runner, here's the answer: No. It's better." - Jonathan Yardley - The Washington Post

"Afghan-American novelist Hosseini follows up his bestselling The Kite Runner with another searing epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 into marrying the 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in an asymmetrical battle with Rasheed, whose violent misogyny - 'There was no cursing, no screaming, no pleading, no surprised yelps, only the systematic business of beating and being beaten' - is endorsed by custom and law. Hosseini gives a forceful but nuanced portrait of a patriarchal despotism where women are agonizingly dependent on fathers, husbands and especially sons, the bearing of male children being their sole path to social status. His tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters." - Publishers Weekly

"So what is the point of reading this novel? The texture of these characters' journey around the craters of their country is no doubt well known to readers of international news. Rendered as fiction in A Thousand Splendid Suns, however, it devastates in a new way. It forces us to imagine what we would do had we been born to such grim fates." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in 34 countries. In 2006 he received the Humanitarian Award from the United Nations Refugee Agency and was named a U.S. goodwill envoy to that agency. He lives in northern California.

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Comments (1)

Hosseini gave an inspiring talk on his new novel at a church in Berkeley, California. If you would like to see a write up of this event, see TheBay
AreaIntellect

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This page contains only one entry posted to Everyday Citizen on May 1, 2007 11:41 PM.

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