Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Genre: Domestic Fiction
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a novel written by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini in 2007. It tells the story of Mariam, an illegitimate girl from Herat, who is forced to marry a shoemaker living in Kabul after a family tragedy. Later in the novel, we come across the story of Laila, born a generation later than Mariam. Laila lives a relatively privileged life, but her life intersects with Mariam’s in a tragic way that forces her to accept a marriage proposal from Mariam’s husband.
The author will allow you to get blinded by the love that was never yours and discard the truth just because it’s bitter. It will force you to look from another person’s perspective before declaring it right or wrong and that every choice has consequences.
You’ll find yourself knocking at the door of death only to be woken up to die again, but this time slowly and differently. It will answer your question, “Is war good or bad?” as the brutal aftermath of war can never be justified. It will take you all the way up high only to shatter you as if it was made of glass. You’ll be deceived, questioned about your morals, and asked to seek pleasure in pain. The patriarchy and its spurious rules will make you twitch, but you’ll have to accept it all because it’s the only way you can survive. It’s the only way you can dream and hang on to a thin string of hope.
This novel will let you have very liberal thoughts and allow you to dream, but at one point, it will all be crushed and stomped upon. You will be angry but succumb to injustice. A character will act so insanely that you’ll feel like killing it, but it will also show emotions that will make you stop and think about the little good it had in-store. You’ll find freedom knocking at your door, but no, it will just shut you out. It will push you down in a dark pit where you can see no light.
Will you come out of it or not; reading the novel will answer that question. By this time, the agonizing past will mark its territory in your memory and leave you thinking, what is the purpose of your life? You’ll realize it’s all the things in between you do to achieve mere goals that transform you, and you call it “A Story.”
I loved how the story unfolds in the novel and the way the author portrayed every character. The author never falters to amuse you by the events that unfold. Before one type of emotion can consume you, you are jolted back to a fresh surge of emotions. Your fingers never leave the edge of the page to read what’s next only the eyes give up to sleep as they get tired of not blinking.
I’ll give this book a rating of five out of five, and thankful to have found this gem of a novel.
About the Author
Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-American novelist, physician, activist, humanitarian, and UNHCR goodwill ambassador. His debut novel The Kite Runner (2003) was a critical and commercial success; the book and his subsequent novels have all been at least partially set in Afghanistan and have featured an Afghan as the protagonist.