A Thousand Splendid Suns

 . . . by Khaled Hosseini.

Oh lordy!  I think I’m in love with this author.  I am certainly unashamedly awestruck by his writing and humbled by his compassion. 

He has become actively engaged in the plight of the Afghan refugees and at the end of his books he offers us the chance to help or learn more about the crisis of refugees here.

Anyway, A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I’ve just finished it and as you have probably surmised, I loved it.  Khaled (see, we’re on first name terms) writes about the Afghan female plight with gentle but amazing insight and empathy given that he is a man.  It’s a hauntingly sad and tragic story but also very beautiful and lovely.  He illustrates the cruelty and the injustice of war with tenderness and reality and he presents an informed picture, adding a human aspect, of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the cruel depravities of the Taliban regime.  But the beauty of the loyalty and love between two wonderful and courageous women who have endured the harshest of cruelties, is an inspiration.  And the indestructible love story of the gentle Tariq and the lovely passionate Laila overpowers everything and I defy anyone not to cry.  There’s so much more I would like to comment on, mostly about Mariam’s plight and her ultimate heart-breaking self-sacrifice . . . and about Laila’s act of gratitude and remembrance towards her but I don’t want to put any spoilers in.  Whoops! I think I just did. Sorry.


The following two lines are taken from a poem by a 17th century Persian poet called Saeb-e-Tabrizi about the city of Kabul and the poem is worth reading in full.  The use of this poem in the book clearly demonstrates the author’s love for his city and its people which were almost ruined and destroyed to the ground by bombs.

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.

All in all, the story will educate and inspire you, it will shock and anger you . . . but it will make your heart soar.  It touched my soul anyway.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Every time I go in to the bookshop I want to buy this book, yet every time I leave with out it. It is definitely on my list to read. I loved Kite Runner and if this book is half as good I know I will enjoy it…maybe cry a little too.


  2. Hi Pocket, lovely to hear from you. I thought you’d disappeared from the blog scene. I will have a wander to your blog asap.

    Yes, I really do recommend the book. I loved The Kite Runner too but I think Splendid Suns is even better. It’s in my all-time Top 5 list and I’ve read hundreds of books.

    I will look forward to reading your review.


  3. I wish I could have time to read everything that is recommended to me by wise people like you, Earthpal. Alas! days just have 24 hours.

    Anyhow I’ll try and get that book here.


  4. I know what you mean Jose. I still have a dozen or so books on my still-to-read list.


  5. Posted by Harpreet on February 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    This book touched my heart, as a women coming from an Indian backgorund I can understand the plight and desperation of these two women- who were very much like to me-two women I could have known. I am actually a Sikh- our religion promotes the equality of women and men mostly my religion is beautiful but of course their are tiny politics in every religion. For example, that the idea that the preacher is predominantly male is still ino our religion- as it is in Christianity and Catholicism- but otherwise a very good religion. I
    think its hard to accept for us that the fate of these women lies within the men and relgion their born with0 and it is that brutality and rigidity that makes us look at our own lives in a different light. One of my favourite books of all time. Kaheld Hossinei a fine piece of literaly fabric- that weaves in and out of the fate of two very charming women.


  6. Harpreet, thank you for this. I’m so glad someone else has been moved by this book. I keep trying to get my sister to read it but she can’t seem to get into it.

    You are so right, we tend to forget that there is gender inequality in the Christian and Judaic faiths as well as in Islam.

    I don’t know much about Sikhism but I have been meaning to write a post about Indian religions. I watched a programme on TV the other week in which this guy was travelling across the Indian sub-continent exploring the faiths and it occurred to me that the Indian faiths are the most peace-loving and non-violent and they value life, in all it’s forms, much more than the four main religions of the world. Intriguing.

    Anyway, Splendid Suns – a brilliant book that will enrich anyone who reads it.


  7. i loved the book as well….

    the review here is fab..

    god bless

    Love from India


  8. Hi Lesllie.

    Thanks for the comment. Glad you got something from the book too.


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