A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

“Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls”


Following the success of The Kite Runner, his debut novel, Khaled Hosseini amazes us again with his powerful story on the women of Afghanistan in A Thousand Splendid Suns.

In contrast with The Kite Runner which is about the story of a young boy and his relationship with his father, A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on female characters with a mother-daughter theme and how these women endure the desperate struggle to persevere against their limits as the key to survival throughout the ugly war.

This beautifully written heart-wrenching novel is bound to bring you to tears as you move along the chapters being captured by this haunting yet riveting chronicle of Mariam and Laila who remain strong despite the hardships they face in their wounded country of Afghanistan.

A Thousand Splendid Suns centers around the lives of Mariam and Laila who are brought together by disastrous events and form an unlikely bond in their support for each other as they encounter the dangers within their home and in the streets of Kabul.

Mariam was only fifteen when she married her bitter husband, Rasheed, who is thirty years her senior. Nearly two decades later, fifteen-year-old Laila is forced to join Mariam’s unhappy household as Rasheed’s second wife.

This book is split into four parts which makes it an easy read. Part one is on Mariam who faces the painful disgrace of her status as an illegitimate child along with the violent abuse she suffered from her husband whilst part two is about Laila, including her childhood growing up with her best friend, Tariq, and how she had to leave her relatively privileged home following a drastic series of misfortunes.

Tragedy strikes their everyday lives and part three revolves around Mariam and Laila who became sisters to each other as well as share a mother-daughter connection. Part three is the highlight of the book and our favourite section as Hosseini manages to paint a deeply moving relationship between the two women as if he is a woman himself! Part four is the exciting end of the journey which depicts Laila’s life after the war with her new family.

Inspired by the resilience of the women of Afghanistan, Hosseini shows us how incredible these women are in his portrayal of their tragic life stories via the characters of Mariam and Laila.

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