Customer Review

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel of great light, and great darkness, 15 Mar. 2009
This review is from: A Thousand Splendid Suns (Paperback)
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.

The strengths of this novel for me lie in two aspects: the depiction of the friendship between Mariam and Laila (a source of great light), and that of the suffocating horror of being a woman under the Taleban regime in Afghanistan (a source of great darkness). In one terrifying section, Rasheed boards up the windows and confines Laila and her baby to their bedroom - a scene that seems like a metaphor for the way the Taleban disempowered women on every level. At the same time, thankfully, Mariam and Laila's friendship is developing, casting the light of their companionship into some of the bleakest moments in their lives.

Men in the novel fare somewhat badly, being rather vague or one-dimensional. Rasheed, the most dominant male character is unspeakably brutal, selfish and without a single redeeming quality, only becoming even more vicious as the novel continues. The other male characters, particularly the "good" guys: one-legged Tariq, and Laila's bookish father, are likeable enough, but essentially weak.

The story itself is surprisingly readable, considering the subject matter, and perhaps this is one of Hosseini's most important skills as a writer. He creates just enough hope to keep us reading, and the (overly) redemptive ending is necessary (this is fiction after all) to balance the terrible events that occur in the rest of the narrative. His prose is functional rather than poetic, the plot turbulent and fast-paced, and I read the last third of the novel in one emotion-charged sitting.

Hosseini dedicated his book to the women of Afghanistan, and it seems a good place to end this review, thinking about these women, and Mariam's mother's words that each snowflake is the "sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world... As a reminder of how women like us suffer... How quietly we endure all that falls upon us."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.8 out of 5 stars (1,481 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1,246)
4 star:
 (155)
3 star:
 (52)
2 star:
 (13)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
£8.99 £6.29
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: loving my life in the rain

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,170