A Thousand Splendid Suns : Review

September 22, 2009

A Thousand Splendid Suns is Khaled Hosseini’s second book.  His first book Kite Runner is a classic. I regard him to be one of the best storytellers I’ve read. Kite Runner is a must read, for any book lover.

I do not regard A Thousand Splendid Suns to be as good as Kite Runner, but it certainly does not disappoint. Like Kite Runner the story is set in Afghanistan, the story has similar shades of betrayal, suffering and vindication. Here Khaled Hosseini tries to explain the plight of Afghan women, their relationships, the stress they have to go through.


The story is about Mariam, a illicit daughter of a wealthy business man Jalil Khan in Herat. Mariam’s life goes upside down when on her 15th birthday she plans to visit her father. She faces betrayal from her father, her mother commits suicide. At a very young age she is forced to marry an old man Rasheed. Rasheed is already married thrice. Mariam moves to Kabul with Rasheed, slowly her life turns into a living hell.

In the second part a young, lively, pretty girl from Kabul Laila is introduced. She is deeply in love with her childhood sweetheart Tariq. Laila’s life falls apart when her house gets bombarded and she looses her mother and father. She has already lost her brothers in the fight against Russians. Tariq and his family moves to Pakistan, Laila is left alone.

The story of two ladies converges when Rasheed marries Laila. Then the story progresses in an interesting direction.

Khaled Hosseini’s narration is really extra-ordinary. You really feel as if its happening in-front of you. You to sympathize with the fates of the two ladies and numerous Afghanis who have seen their country battered incessantly by Russians, the local war lords, the Taliban and then the US. The Trauma Afghanis have gone through, loosing their kith and kin, their wealth, property and culture to war mongers hungry for power. You really feel thankful to be far away from such insanity.

I certainly would recommend this book, its a great read. It gives one a vivid idea how Afghanistan has transformed from being a peace loving country in early 1980s to an insane state of terror post 2000.