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A Thousand Splendid Suns Paperback – November 25, 2008
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We wanted to spread the word on the book as widely, and as soon, as we could. See below for an exclusive excerpt from A Thousand Splendid Suns and early reviews of the book from some of our top customer reviewers.--The Editors
|An Exclusive Excerpt from A Thousand Splendid Suns|
We have arranged with the publisher to make an exclusive excerpt of A Thousand Splendid Suns available on Amazon.com. Click here to read a scene from the novel. It's not the opening scene, but rather one from a crucial moment later in the book when Mariam, one of the novel's two main characters, steps into a new role.
|Early Buzz from Amazon.com Top Reviewers|
We queried our top 100 customer reviewers as of March 6, 2007, and asked them to read A Thousand Splendid Suns and share their thoughts. We've included these early reviews below in the order they were received. For the sake of space, we've only included a brief excerpt of each reviewer's response, but each review is available for reading in its entirety by clicking the "Read the review" link.
Joanna Daneman: "His style is deceptively simple and clear, the characters drawn deftly and swiftly, his themes elemental and huge. This is a brilliant writer and I look forward to more of his work." Read Joanna Daneman's review
Seth J. Frantzman: "Khaled Hosseini has done it again with 'A Thousand Splendid Sons', presenting a new, dashing and dark tale of two generations of women trapped in a loveless marriage, bracketed by great events." Read Seth J. Frantzman's review
Donald Mitchell: "Khaled Hosseini has succeeded in capturing many important historical and contemporary themes in a way that will make your heart ache again and again. Why will your reaction be so strong? It’s because you’ll identify closely with the suffering of almost all the characters, a reaction that’s very rare to a modern novel." Read Donald Mitchell's review
Lawrance M. Bernabo: "All things considered, following up on a successful first novel is probably harder than coming up with the original effort and Hosseini could have rested on his laurels in the manner of Harper Lee, but as "A Thousand Splendid Suns" amply proves, this native of Kabul has more stories to tell about the land of Afghanistan." Read Lawrance M. Bernabo's review
Amanda Richards: "There are parts of this book that will have grown men surreptitiously blotting the tears that are on the verge of overflowing their ducts, and by the time you get to the middle, you won’t be able to put it down. Hosseini's simple but richly descriptive prose makes for an engrossing read, and in my opinion, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is among the best I have ever read. This is definitely not one to be missed." Read Amanda Richards's review
N. Durham: "All that being said, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is a bit more enjoyable than Hosseini’s previous "The Kite Runner", and once again he manages to give we readers another glimpse of a world that we know little about but frequently condemn and discard. However, if you were one of the many that for some reason absolutely loved "The Kite Runner", chances are that you'll love this as well." Read N. Durham's review
John Kwok: "Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns" is a genuine instant literary classic, and one destined to be remembered as one of 2007's best novels. It should be compared favorably to such legendary Russian novels like "War and Peace" and "Doctor Zhivago"." Read John Kwok's review
Thomas Duff: "Normally I'm more of an action-adventure type reader when it comes to novels and recreational reading. But I was given the chance to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner), so I decided to try something out of my normal genre. I am *so* glad I did. This is a stunning and moving novel of life and love in Afghanistan over a 30 year period." Read Thomas Duff's review
Charles Ashbacher: "This book manages to simultaneously capture the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years and how women are treated in conservative Islamic societies.... In many ways it is a sad book, your heart goes out to these two women in their hopeless struggle to have a decent life with a brutal man in an unforgiving, intolerant society." Read Charles Ashbacher's review
W. Boudville: "Hosseini presents a piognant view into the recent tortured decades of the Afghan experience. From the 1970s, under a king, to the Soviet takeover, to the years of resistance. And then the rise and fall of the Taliban. An American reader will recognise many of the main political events. But to many Americans, Afghanistan and its peoples and religion remain an opaque and troubling mystery." Read W. Boudville's review
Mark Baker: "I tend to read plot heavy books, so this character study was a definite change of pace for me. I found the first half slow going at times, mainly because I knew where the story was going. Once I got into the second half, things really picked up. The ending was very bittersweet. I couldn't think of a better way to end it." Read Mark Baker's review
Grady Harp: "Hosseini takes us behind those walls for forty some years of Afghanistan's bloody history and while he does not spare us any of the descriptions of the terror that continues to besiege that country, he does offer us a story that speaks so tenderly about the fragile beauty of love and devotion and lasting impression people make on people." Read Grady Harp's review
Robert P. Beveridge: "When I was actively reading it, the pages kept turning, and more than once I found myself foregoing food or sleep temporarily to get in just one more chapter. When I had put it down, however, I felt no particular compulsion to pick it back up again. It's a good book, and a relatively well-written one, but it's not a great book. Enjoyable without leaving a lasting impression." Read Robert P. Beveridge's review
B. Marold: "While the events in Afghanistan and the wider world create a familiar framework for the stories of these two women, it is nothing more than a framework. The warp and weft of everyday life, and the interaction of the two women and their close relatives is the heartbeat of the story." Read B. Marold's review
Daniel Jolley: "Khaled Hosseini has written a majestic, sweeping, emotionally powerful story that provides the reader with a most telling window into Afghan society over the past thirty-odd years. It's also a moving story of friendship and sacrifice, giving Western readers a rare glimpse into the suffering and mistreatment of Afghan women that began long before the Taliban came to power." Read Daniel Jolley's review
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Splendid Suns follows the lives of two Afghani women, Mariam and Laila, as they move from children to adults. The book spans 30 years, beginning with the Soviet invasion and ending with the overthrow of the Taliban. It's difficult to explain more of the story without spoiling the plot, but these two women go from being enemies to unlikely friends. A Thousand Suns is a moving story about the power of love, the bonds of friendship, the love of country, and the struggle to survive. I hated to see it end.
I like books that teach me something, and there is a lot to learn in Splendid Suns. Previously, I didn't know much about the political turmoil in Afghanistan and the various factions vying for power. I knew women had an appalling time living under the Taliban regime, but I didn't realize how horrible conditions really were. The childbirth section will fill you with horror. I also learned of the natural beauty of Afghanistan and her fascinating history.
I was especially moved by Hesseini's eloquent writing and observations. In writing of friendship, "Boys, Laila came to see, treated friendship the way they treated the sun: its existence undisputed; its radiance best enjoyed, not beheld directly." There aren't too many writers who can produce back-to-back masterpieces. Khaled Hosseini is one of those rare talents who can pull off such a feat.
The book covers the issues of class, religion, work, education, sexual roles, & raising children. All are highlighted by the tumult of Afghanistan's history. This is a very descriptive, well written story, you can feel & sense the characters lives. The first half was a little slow, & it is clear that this will be a "blue journey." The sacrifices these two women gives the reader a slideshow of the harshness of their lives. Part three, is the peak of the story. This is where the two women's relationship truly meshed. The fourth part sees Afghanistan opening to modernity & is less traumatic. A very good & poignant read.
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns in six.
This book is less disturbing than The Kite Runner. There is more quiet desperation. A bit less personal story, and a bit more history.
But, it is no less gripping. The story and the history are beautifully woven together. The author holds nothing back in painting a stark picture of what it means to be a woman in a culture where they are valued only for how well they keep a house, and how many sons they produce. A culture where they are subject to the whims of men. Those that value them as worthwhile human beings are welcome oases - they seem to be the exceptions in their world, rather than the norm.
He also paints a stark picture of how much harm religious fanaticism and intolerance can do.
But, it also paints a picture of hope that the winds of change can blow cool and refreshing.
It also shows us the rich history of Afghanistan, a country that has endured, much like Nana said that women must. It shows a country and a people with much potential.
My eyes welled in a few places. At one point, I had to stop reading, close my eyes, and gather myself as the story hit close to home. I even laughed (Islamic flamingos.) By the end, tears were streaming down my face, and I was once again left feeling immensely satisfied.
It is rare that you find a writer who, with their first novel, shows that they are an immense talent. I had previously only ever read one such author in my life. From the first chapter of The Kite Runner, I knew that Khaled Hosseini would be one of them. A Thousand Splendid Suns is more proof of it.
I am already looking forward to what he produces next.
The story starts decades before the Taliban came into power in 1996, and ends after the era of Taliban rule. The main character begins life as a "harami" - the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man and one of his housekeepers. Forced to live in a small shack with her emotionally disturbed and possibly epileptic mother, Mariam lives for Thursdays, the day her father comes to see her, bearing small gifts and showering her with the affection she craves. Naturally, Mariam wants to be a part of her father's life and fit in with his legitimate family, but when she attempts to force his hand, she is rebuffed and feels betrayed by his reaction. Her impetuous actions bring an end to the life she has known for fifteen long years, and lead to an arranged marriage to a much older man, a shoemaker, whose views on the rights of women mirror those that the Taliban would soon enforce.
During the time that Mariam is dutifully enduring her unhappy marriage, a neighbor gives birth to a baby girl, whom they name Laila. By her ninth birthday, Laila has grown up to be a beautiful child with blonde hair, turquoise-green eyes, high cheekbones and dimples. Unfortunately, her mother lives only for the day her older sons will return home from fighting the jihad, and is consumed by the vision of a free Afghanistan.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good insight of the complexities of the daily lives of people in the middle East.Published 1 day ago by KS
Just finished reading this book, immediately after reading The Kite Runner. I think they are some of the most heartbreaking books I have ever read. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Green Grass
Following two Afghani women who marry the same abusive man and covering four decades, this book is a facinatng story that cleverly intertwines fact with fiction in vivid and often... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Kiera J. Gavegan
Artful and educating stories. I have learned a lot on multiple levels reading The Kite Runner, And The Mountains Echoed and now this one. Read morePublished 2 days ago by hhilde