“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is an enlightening novel by renowned author Khaled Hosseini about women in late 20th century Afghanistan, when the Taliban controlled the country.
The novel is split into two parts, beginning with the story of Mariam.
Mariam’s young life changed the day that she discovered that her mother has committed suicide and is forced to live with her uncaring father.
Shortly thereafter, Mariam’s childhood is taken when she is married off to Rasheed, a man who is 30 years older than her.
The novel follows Mariam throughout her adolescence and early adulthood, until she meets Laila.
Laila, the main character of the second part of the novel, was born and raised in the same neighborhood as Rasheed and Mariam.
Laila, after the sudden deaths of everyone she could rely on, is forced to become Rasheed’s second wife.
Although Mariam is at first bitter toward Laila, the two women must ultimately depend on each other to survive their miserable lives under the ultimate control of Rasheed.
What makes Mariam and Laila so extraordinary is that they do not intend to just survive Rasheed, but rather to escape him.
The characters of “A Thousand Splendid Suns” are feminist heroines in a misogynist culture.
Khaled Hosseini is an Afghanistan national who immigrated to America as an adolescent.
Hosseini’s 2003 debut novel, “The Kite Runner,” was an international best-seller and was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.
“I also think that “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is, in some ways, a more ambitious book than my first novel,” Hosseini said in an interview in 2007. “The story is multigenerational, unfolding over almost 45 years, often skipping ahead years. There is a larger cast of characters, and a dual perspective, and the wars and political turmoil in Afghanistan are chronicled with more detail than in “The Kite Runner.”
“A Thousand Splendid Suns” sold more than a million copies in its first week and spent 75 weeks on The New York Times’ paperback fiction bestseller list.
In addition, the novel was the top-selling book on Amazon in 2007.
Both of Hosseini’s novels have sold more than 37 million copies.
Hosseini tackles sensitive topics like spousal abuse, rape and sacrifice. The novel is heartbreakingly real from beginning to end and should be read with caution by the faint of heart.