I recently read Khaled Hosseini's 2007 novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. If I am to be open with you, this story was lovely, heart wrenching, thought provoking, along with so many other things. It would probably take me a decade to fully describe it, and even then I cannot perceive that I would give it justice. I devoured this book, breathing in the desperation, destitution and despite it all, the delight designated within the story. Being a fan of Afghan-American Hosseini's debut The Kite Runner, I had high expectations for his second novel; yet it proved higher than anything I could have imagined.
It focuses on two Afghani women, Mariam and Laila, in amongst the clamour of their country's political turmoil from the 1960s to early 2003. Both of them have horrendous experiences of the effects of war and the oppression of females. However, it is conveyed that even amongst the worst of horrors, joy can still be discovered. At times, it shocked me, with portrayals of killings of innocent citizens during the wars, with the ruthlessness of the Taliban and the Soviets, and more so with the misogynistic and violent treatment that both protagonists are subjected to. A Thousand Splendid Suns has such an overpowering influence over its readers when it entails such details, as it is based on truth. Being an Afghan himself, the author effortlessly creates a strong sense of candour; his characters are amazingly authentic and as a result of this, I soon became emotionally attached. It was an enlightening experience.
If I do have any qualms about this book, it is how much it has silently mocked my limited comprehension and knowledge of Afghani political history and of the conflicts in the Middle East. Nonetheless, I guess that this only adds to its credibility, as it has both educated and impelled me to learn more.
A Thousand Splendid Suns gets four and a half shining stars out of five.
★★★★ (and a half - don't judge my technological incapability, I couldn't figure out how to make a half star)