Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review of 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini

Historical Fiction - 372pgs
Riverhead (first published 2007)

So I have decided to read another book by Khaled Hosseini, the same author who wrote the book I previously read, The Kite Runner.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to read him in consecutive turns.  I did like The Kite Runner very much and I knew I was in for another good story, most likely.  I just didn't expect the stories to be so alike in the story plot, again about Afghanistan. But I guess the author has taken it upon himself to write about Afghanistan and so this book, which was written two years after The Kite Runner.  While it is similar, it does have a different outlook or perspective on the life there.

 
Whereas The Kite Runner is a story about the childhood of little boys and how it affects their life into adulthood; this story is about the childhood of little girls and how their lives change in the face of it in a place like Afghanistan.  The struggles of little girls versus the struggles of little boys is clearly worlds apart in Afghanistan, in my opinion.  You have to read both stories to know what I'm really talking about.  And trust me, it would enrich you to read them both.  They are tragically empowering stories.

If there is one big theme to talk about in the book, it's the theme of endurance.  From the beginning of the book, we learn the lesson that a woman has to come to terms with the fact that she will endure all her life and everything life has to offer her.  It is truly a man's world in both of these book.  But in this story in particular, women endure everything from polygamy, to sexual exploitation by their husband, to births without anesthesia, to unexpected deaths of loved ones, to the loss of their beloved ones, to hunger, to orphanages, to being married at the age of fifteen,, to murder and imprisonment.... ecetera...

The whole book is just one enduring moment after another for every one of the female characters.  There is only one admirable male character and that is Tariq, and I just loved seeing his story unfold to the end of the book.  Such a man of character and courage.  Truly happy to have traveled through the book and been with him at the end.  The whole way through the story I kept wondering if it was going to end up in a happy ending... and I guess I'll leave it up to you to find out.  What's fun if there's isn't some mystery?










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