Customer Reviews


1,362 Reviews
5 star:
 (1,145)
4 star:
 (139)
3 star:
 (50)
2 star:
 (13)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


238 of 242 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Crafted Novel
This book moved me to tears, it is truly a remarkable and beautifully crafted novel. At times Hosseini paints harrowing and brutal scenes but always retains, through the characters of Mariam and Laila, humanity, spirit and above all love. There were chapters in this novel through which I literally held my breath, wishing with all my heart that what was unfolding would...
Published on 16 July 2007 by Beth Roads

versus
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel of great light, and great darkness
On finishing Hosseini's novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, I went directly to the internet to investigate the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Here then is the genuine power of storytelling, the ability of a novel to affect a reader and make a difference - and if for nothing else, I am grateful to this novel for opening my eyes a little more...
Published on 15 Mar 2009 by LittleMoon


‹ Previous | 1 2137 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

238 of 242 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Crafted Novel, 16 July 2007
By 
Beth Roads (Nottinghamshire) - See all my reviews
This book moved me to tears, it is truly a remarkable and beautifully crafted novel. At times Hosseini paints harrowing and brutal scenes but always retains, through the characters of Mariam and Laila, humanity, spirit and above all love. There were chapters in this novel through which I literally held my breath, wishing with all my heart that what was unfolding would not, could not happen. It is very easy for those of us lucky enough to live in safety to visualise Afghanistan as a brutal, forsaken place, but this novel shows us something more. It forces the reader to acknowledge and recognise not only the suffering of people in our war torn world but something else, the human capacity for survival, forgiveness and love. Truly a wonderful book and one I would urge others to read. The best novel I have read in a long time and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A far more accomplished offering that his debut novel, 25 Sep 2007
it traces the stories of two women brought together by destiny - Mariam, the illegitimate child of a rich man, is married off at fifteen to a much older man, and suffers a life of suppression and subjugation and made to feel worthless for not being able to produce an heir. Her life takes an interesting turn years later when a young 14-year-old girl, Laila is brought into her household and made wife number two. The two women forge a bond of sisterhood, united against their oppressor/husband. I will not give too much of the plot away, but suffice to say that not only do we get to read about these two character's amazing and heartbreaking journey through the cruel and oppressive male-dominated world they live in, but we also get a lesson in Afghanistan's history prior to and later during the Soviet Occupation in the 1980s to the Taliban rule where women are reduced to the ranks of chattel ,and deemed mere breeding mares and servants of men. This is a searing portrait of the plight of women in Afghanistan, and not only does it give voice to the victims of male oppression and harsh cultural traditions, but it stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit with its unwavering hope.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 5 Oct 2008
By 
Suzanne Hussein "Suzanne" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The story of two women brought together in the most awful, despicable circumstances which are totally out of their control. The husband Rasheed is probably one of the most hateful, violent characters I have ever come across and Hosseini's writing is so powerful that you believe these people really exist and I hated Rasheed with a passsion. This book had my heart thumping at a failed escape and crying at one of the most poignant chapters set in the Ghaza Stadium. Like the Kite Runner this book does end with a sense of hope but again, getting to that end still fills you with sadness. This is one book I will remember for along time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching story, 29 Mar 2009
By 
Maria L. Uribe Torres (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback)
One of the best books I have read during the last years. A Thousand Splendid Suns tells the story of Mariam, an Afghan woman whose life is determined by her only sin: being born of an unmarried woman. Her life tragedy, the struggle for reclaiming her identity, her lack of determination, her limited possibilities and boundaries of her own culture made her story unbelievable but at the same time so real that it's difficult to understand social reality and humanity.

It is an excellent book for those interested in learning more about Afghanistan, the Arab culture in Central Asia and the unrevealed ways of understanding Islam. It's a book that will take you through history, human rights, religion, ethics, politics, structural and cultural violence and love.

I really recommend you this book. Hosseini's style and way of unfolding events that run through the whole story consumes you. Each word, each page, each chapter makes you unaware of time and takes you to an unknown country, landscape, situation and lives that touches your senses and immerses you in a reality that goes beyond your empathetic capacity to understand others.

This saga is more than the history of Afghanistan; it shows through Mariam's and Layla's life the life of thousands of women in countries where women's rights are not respected and where culture undermines their dignity. This book depicts the need for democracy and beyond that, the need for structural systems that protect human rights; the need for cultural development that encompasses equality and justice and the need for counteracting hate and fostering education that promotes mutual respect. It also shows the need for fostering religious practices and teachings that forge compassionate attitudes and openness.

The tragic story of a country that has lived years of domination, ethnic conflicts, war and terrorism questions you about the terrible things humans are capable of doing and the irreparable damage humans cause to each other. It questions you about the struggle thousands of people experience in countries in war and the silence, muteness, deafness and apathy towards the reality of war, poverty and lack of mutual understanding.

I haven't stopped thinking about the miserable life of some people around the world and I feel small and powerless to do something about. Perhaps creating awareness is a way to start.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting, 7 Mar 2009
By 
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback)
This is an absolutely brilliant book depicting the lives of two extraordinary Afghani women who are thrown together under highly unusual circumstances. The book follows their struggle against extreme evil, hardship and victimisation. Mariam and Laila show incredible strength as women in a country torn apart by vicious war, and the untoward cruelty suffered by them at the hands of a shared husband whom both were forced to marry, is heartbreaking. It is almost impossible to imagine that this amazing story was set, for the most part of it, in the 1990s. It is such an insight into the country of Afghanistan and this is a book that will stay with you long after you read the last page. Truly one of kind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sins of the Fathers Are Visited on Everyone, 7 Aug 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS tells the wonderful, intensely moving story of how two modern Afghan women overcome the great challenges that have faced women in Afghanistan and rise above their victimization. Khaled Hosseini has succeeded in capturing many important historical and contemporary themes in a way that will make your heart ache again and again. Why will your reaction be so strong? It's because you'll identify closely with the suffering of almost all the characters, a reaction that's very rare to a modern novel.

In Part One, you meet Miriam at age five as she learns that she is a harami (an illegitimate child). Miriam's wealthy father, Jalil, had seduced a housekeeper, Miriam's mother, Nana, six years earlier and now provides for both of them in a remote shack where he can keep a low profile. Despite his concern about his reputation, Jalil adores the attention that Miriam devotes to him. All proceeds in an artificial and harsh way until one day Miriam decides to demand her father's attention. The consequences shape her world for the rest of her life.

In Part Two, the story moves to focus on Laila, who was born to Miriam's acquaintance Fariba at the end of Part One. Laila's rearing is almost totally the opposite of Miriam's. Laila is loved by both her parents with whom she lives and has many chances to develop her knowledge and skills. Laila lives in Kabul while Miriam grew up in the countryside outside of Herat. Laila is beautiful while Miriam is plainer. They also grow up in different times: Miriam is old enough to be Laila's mother. Miriam never had a male friend while growing up, while Laila is fascinated by the one-legged Tariq. All is going well for Laila until the war intrudes to send her life off into an unexpected direction.

In Part Three, the two women begin to share a destiny and develop a relationship. Their lives are more fundamentally changed by this relationship than by anything else that has happened to them. The magic of the story is most evident in Part Three.

In Part Four, we come into the present, when Afghanistan is once again opening itself to possibilities.

The time span of the book is from 1964 to the present. In the background, you are kept up-to-date on political events that shake the entire country. In some cases, those political events turn into revolutions and wars. In many cases, the violence intrudes into the lives of the book's characters. It's like reading War and Peace as adapted to modern Afghanistan.

The book also deals with issues of class, religion, sexual roles, child rearing, work, education, and community. These issues are highlighted in terms of the different regimes and attitudes of the controlling male characters. For Afghanistan was a world where the men called the shots, unless they chose not to do so. Although the issues that are raised and the way that they are raised are pretty predictable, it's a tribute to Mr. Hosseini that you won't see them coming. He moves his characters and action around in such a way that you won't see much foreshadowing of what's to come. Part of that skill comes in making each page so interesting and engaging that you are pulled away from thoughts like "I wonder where he's going next with this plot." I found myself deeply inside the story throughout. That's rare for me, especially in a story that focuses on female characters.

It's early in the year, but I wouldn't be surprised if A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS turns out to have been one of the very top novels of 2007.

I highly recommend this book and encourage you to discuss it with your friends. This novel would be a great choice for your book club.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Kiterunner, 5 July 2007
Another excellent read by Hosseini. Life in Afghanistan from a womens point of view was not pretty, especially during the Taliban rule.
This book covers this is some detail. The storyline is well structured and the writing style makes this an easy read that you dont really want to put down. Having said all that it was not as riveting as Kite Runner, however dont be put off,its well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lives of others, 23 Mar 2009
By 
Tealady2000 (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns
This is a charming yet thought-provoking and moving story from Afghan-born novelist Khaled Hosseini. Set against a backdrop of more than 30 years of troubled times in Afghanistan, it tells of two women, Mariam and Laila, who are thrown together like flotsam on the tide of fate. They have little control over any part of their lives but despite everything they form a remarkable bond, a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in times when absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.

This story provides a remarkable insight into the lives of others and I am not ashamed to say that it made me cry. It is beautifully narrated by Atossa Leoni (who plays Soraya in the film version of The Kite Runner) - I loved hearing all the Arabic/Pashto/Farsi words pronounced with an authentic accent. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply spectacular, 23 Feb 2009
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback)
This is a sweeping, epic, moving journey that is both extremely addictive and totally exhausting. It is shocking, frustrating and upsetting but also uplifting in parts. It follows the lives of two women of different generations living in Afghanistan who, despite coming from different backgrounds, end up living in the same household and sharing a very close bond. Hosseini partly uses this plot as a vehicle to highlight the plight and history of Afghanistan, but it is also very much character-based. The two women find comfort in one another in the face of the most appalling circumstances inflicted upon them by the Taliban. And while the author is obviously very sympathetic to the plight of the women, he doesn't fall into the trap of portraying the men as stereotypical monsters. While the husband is definitely the villain of the piece, even he is occasionally shown to have a human side which makes the story all the more real.
This book is a stunning read in almost every way. It is a rare for a book to combine stunning literature with a readable style so addictive I couldn't keep away. This is certainly not a chore to read in terms of its style although it will leave you exhausted and emotionally drained.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching! unforgetable., 9 Aug 2007
By 
A. Hope "bookcrossing ali" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I just oouldn't put it down! People say that a lot about books, but with this wonderful novel I really couldn't. I was then sorry I had finished it so quickly.

Khaled Hosseini knows how to play our heartstrings - and with this novel he does so beautifully. The characters are unforgetable, their stories tragic. The central female characters in this novel - Mariam and Laila are strong, and believable, the desicions they make all the more heartbreaking for the inevitability of them. Their world shaped by tradition and religion, is narrow with little if any real freedom.

In this novel Hossseini takes us on a journey through more than forty years of Afghan history - we feel the ravages of time upon a once beautiful city, as again and again fighting and bloodshed come to Afghanistan.

This is an excellent second novel, and I eagerly await more from this writer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2137 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Paperback - 12 Jan 2008)
£5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews