25 July, 2016


Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Series: -
Genres: Drama, Adult Fiction, Fiction
Publisher: Jotema
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 380

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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.

Going into this book I didn't really have any expectations apart from what my friend told me. She told me it was good and that the author had another book 'The Kite Runner' that was amazing. So I decided to read this book not just because of the recommendation, but also because it told a story about women in Afghanistan.

THE WORLD: The plot of this book covers the years between 1974 to 2003, and the plot takes place merely in Afghanistan. I have to be honest, I did not know much about Afghanistan or the occupations they had in their country's past, so while reading this book not only did I became more aware of the traditions, customs, culture and society of Afghanistan, but also learned few important dates in their history, because throughout the book Afghanistan is occupied by the Soviets and after that the Taliban, and from the detailed descriptions the author provides you can truly understand the difficulties and horrible events people had to go through. 
CHARACTERS: One of the main characters in this book is Mariam, and we see her entire life in the book. She is the illegitimate daughter of a really rich man  in Herat - Jalil, so she lives outside the town in this built shed with her mother Nana, who I didn't clearly understood to be honest, I believe she both loved and resented Mariam. Anyway, so Mariam is basically isolated her entire life, or that is the picture I created for myself, because as a child she didn't know anything apart from her little shed. To me it felt like she had to be kept like a little bunny outside in the wilderness just because she was the daughter of an already married man. When she is 15 or so Jalil marries her off to Rasheed, who is like 40 or something at the time. Now, when you read this book, there are places where you you can get annoyed by Mariam or think that she is just cold and heartless, but actually, all her life she just wanted to be close to another human being, to be close and share and have a connection because she never had that with her parents, or husband.

The other main character is Laila, who eventually becomes the second wife of Rasheed, and she comes into the story years later when Mariam is 30 I think and Laila only 15. There is a complete parallel between Mariam and Laila, because while Mariam comes from non-existing family, Laila on the other hand comes from a loving, well educated and strong family. She has a deep and loving connection with her father Hakim, who is a teacher. It so happens that Laila has to marry Rasheed (stopping here because otherwise spoilers), and she meets Mariam, but they do not get along first. Mariam is jealous of Laila, her youth, her beauty, her charisma and Laila just wants to be left alone. I liked Laila she was a strong character, and I believe her strength to never give up or give in even to being abused made Mariam stronger as well.

I mentioned Rasheed a little earlier, so let's talk about him a little more. So he's the husband of both Mariam and Laila. When the novel starts he already has burred a wife and a son, so when he marries Mariam he is forgiving to her, he explains everything to her in a more fatherly way, how he likes things run, how she has to behave in public and so on. However, in time more specifically after Mariam suffers few miscarriages he shifts into this abusive man. You can clearly understand that he marries Laila because she's beautiful and young and he wants children but after Laila gives birth to a girl he shuts down completely. He beats them both, he talks down to them both, he absolutely ignored the baby. Even after he finally has a son from Laila he still doesn't stop being abusive both verbally and physically. Now,  I have to be honest guys, I did hate this character but more I just felt sorry for him, because I felt that there was something inside him that made him completely numb to the world and to other people.

In the book we also have few other characters such as Tariq, Laila's childhood friend who she was/is in love with. He was a lovely character to read! Mullah Faizullah was also a positive character because he offered wisdom advice to Mariam and taught her how to read and understand Koran.
LOVE: In terms of love love we only have the love between Laila and Tariq. It's a beautiful first love that grows and blossoms into a true always and forever love. But in terms of different love (which you know I like to point out), in this book we have a lot of that! Mother love - Laila and Marian do what they can to protect he kids from Rasheed. Friendship love - between Laila and Mariam. I was so happy when they started to be friends you guys, because women should support other women, we shouldn't fight, we should support each other because no other person will understand the struggles and suffering a woman goes then another woman! And I just loved their bond, how they stood up and supported each other, guys it made me tear up so many times!

PLUS: I did like reading about Afghanistan and the different customs, and foods and celebrations people have, so the historical side of the book was very interesting to me. I did enjoy that the book ended in a really shocking way, I didn't expect it to end this way. I just have to tell you that the end made me cry. I cried like a baby reading the few last pages because it hit you right in the heart! 

MINUS: I think I wanted to see more of this change in Rasheeds character, because it wasn't really clear how and when he became this abusive. 

OVERALL: I would highly recommend this book for those who like realistic fiction and books about other cultures. It was a truly beautiful and heartbreaking book to read.


What did you think of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS?