203 of 206 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
19 of 20 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
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203 of 206 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 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.
106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sins of the Fathers Are Visited on Everyone,
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.
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of passion, vigour, horror and hope!,
Hosseini takes us into the private world of three generations living through the tumultuous events of the past three decades in Afghanistan from the Soviet occupation through to the ousting of the Taliban. The story is about ordinary people trying to get on with their lives as the world as they know it falls apart around them. The characters are vibrant and complex and Hosseini's prose brings their struggles, their fears and their hopes to life in a very tangible way. Sometimes a fictional interpretation of history is exactly what we need in order to be able to come to a real understanding of what it meant to live through historic events, particularly horrific ones. Hosseini shepherds us to this kind of understanding. We live through the horrors, the struggles and the hellishly difficult decisions as the characters face them.
The real beauty of the novel is in its resolution. Hosseini does not succumb to the temptation to give us a simplistic happy ending, which may make us feel good, but which would betray the reality. Nevertheless he manages to convey redemption and optimism. You will finish the book wishing you could step into the pages and meet the characters who have emerged from suffering with such a resilient sense of hope and a solicitude for the needs of others that leaves us awestruck.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing will read again,
I think this book is one of best books i have ever read! I read the kite runner last year and couldn't put it down (virtually reading it in one sitting) but this book is really just as good, and yet again read it in just over a day.
The portrail of each character is amazing and i found it easy to slip into each of their hard lives and personalities.
The twists (which i won't spoil by revealing) are very cleverly pathed throughout the story.
I think the book is so well written and the author's ability to tell a story at the same time as being informative about the country and its history is fantastic!!
I will read again for sure and recommend this to everyone even if the setting and sitution surrounding the story doesn't appeal Hosseini will reel you in hook, line and sinker.
80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant,
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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartwrenching,
Khaled Hosseini has produced another excellent novel...He has this incredible abilty to reach deeep down and draw out every ounce of empathy to immerse you into his world. Despite the heartwrenching sense of despair, ,abandonment, pain, suffering, ordeal and melancholy of the tale of Mariam and Laila, there is a sense of deep companionship, love, unity,support, devotion and triumph!! That's what I love about this book!! Its a powerful lesson in how the teeniest glimmer of hope allows you to survive.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thousand Glittering Tears....,
Although i have not read The Kite Runner, i do not see how it could possibly top this book, this brilliant and moving tale, i was enchanted by the story and i was actually moved to tears at points. This is a stunning book spanning the lives of two seemingly very different women - Mariam and Laila - brought together by mutual suffering at the hands of their husband. Once you start this book you may have trouble puting it down. i bought this book - as i liked the look of the cover in tesco- on wednesday and within two days of starting it i had finished (i actually didn't really put it down) this is definately one of the best novels i have read in my short life
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thousand shards of glass,
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
A story of two women, Mariam and Laila who are brought together through tragedy in each of their lives, and must face the torment of Rasheed who marries them both.
Set in Afghanistan, the tale is threaded into the history of the country from the Russian occupation to the fall of the Taliban.
I love this book. An emotive force drives the narrative that is grim and gritty but yet manages to hold hope always within the story, even though the despair should crush it to dust in the fist Khaled wields.
The story arc is better than The Kite Runner, Khaled's first book. (Although that book is brilliant) Probably due to The Kite Runner being semi autobiographical with a plot twist at the end bolted on for fear of the story not standing in its own merit.
My only slight criticisms are Khaled's use of adverbs where his writing is strong enough to hold up without their support, and I did loose connection with Mariam as a character for a while in the early bit of Part 3. He also succumbs to leaving the odd cliffhanger at the end of a chapter (chapter 16 for example) that might suit Dan Brown but seem out of place here.
Khaled's strengths lie in his ability to make you care about his characters and his ability to immerse you in events with deft touches of his pen, rather than over doing the prose.
It hurts. It hurts to breathe. It hurts everywhere.
A glass of water. A pink pill.
Back to the darkness.
He also takes you, like in The Kite Runner, into a world normally only viewed through news broadcasts. The culture and devastation of Afghanistan are brought to life through the simple tale of these two ordinary women. And whilst Rasheed covers their eyes in the mesh of the burqa, Khaled opens our eyes to the hearts within Afghanistan that beat with the same rhythm in hope and tragedy as in us all.
So if you want a ,book that is beautiful, tragic and well written read, A Thousand Splendid Suns this summer.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
This is a truly amazing novel. The way in which it is written is concise yet beautiful. I was deeply moved by the story of Laila and Mariam and also fascinated by the historical landscape of Afghanistan. This is the best book I have read in a very, very long time. I would highly reccommend this to everyone. Khaled Hosseini is a truly gifted writer.
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting,
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.
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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini