About the Book
Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Publication: Bloomsbury (2007)
Summary: Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism. (Bloomsbury)
What I Think
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
- Saeb-e-Tabrizi (translation by Dr. Josephine Davis)
Everyone should read this book. To be honest I could end my review there, but no doubt I should back my bold statement with a few words. This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. Hosseini, born in Afghanistan in 1965, paints such a vivid picture in this war-torn novel that you cannot help but give thanks to whoever, or whatever, you believe in that this is not your life. For those of you for whom this is your life, my heart goes out to you.
Hosseini says (at a speech given at Book Expo America), "I saw the unique ability that fiction has to connect people who dress differently or practice different religions, and I saw how universal some human experiences are, like friendship, guilt, forgiveness, loss and atonement." (Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Bloomsbury 2008)
The friendship that exists between Mariam and Laila is truly unique, heartwarming and ultimately very powerful. It reminds you that in absolutely dire situations a sprig of hope can emerge and grow into something strong and beautiful. For all the goodness that they convey, I'd like to think that they really exist. These characters will stay with me forever.
About the Author
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and moved to the United States in 1980. His first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller, published in thirty-four countries. In 2006 he was named a US goodwill envoy to the United Nations Refugee Agency. He lives in Northern California.