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A Thousand Splendid Suns Paperback – November 25, 2008
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“Spectacular. . . . Hosseini’s writing makes our hearts ache, our stomachs clench and our emotions reel. . . . Hosseini mixes the experiences of these women with imagined scenarios to create a fascinating microcosm of Afghan family life. He shows us the interior lives of the anonymous women living beneath identity-diminishing burqas... Hosseini writes in gorgeous and stirring language of the natural beauty and colorful cultural heritage of his native Afghanistan. . . . Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope.”—USA Today
“Just as good, if not better, than Hosseini’s best-selling first book, The Kite Runner”—Newsweek
“Compelling”—New York Magazine
“Hosseini revisits Afghanistan for a compelling story that gives voice to the agonies and hopes of another group of innocents caught up in a war. . . . Mesmerizing . . . A Thousand Splendid Suns is the painful, and at times violent, yet ultimately hopeful story of two women’s inner lives. Hosseini’s bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it’s a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Hosseini . . . has followed his debut novel with another work of strong storytelling and engaging characters. . . . The story pulses with life. . . . Khaled Hosseini is simply a marvelously moving storyteller.”—San Jose Mercury News
“Hosseini’s story . . . rings true as a universal story about victims of cruelty and those who lack the most fundamental of human rights. . . . Hosseini’s work is uplifting, enlightening, universal. The author’s love for his characters and for his country is palpable. In the end, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a love letter to a country and to a people. It is a celebration of endurance and survival in the face of unspeakable tragedy. This is a love song to anyone who has ever had a broken heart and to anyone who has ever felt powerless and yet still dares to dream. And yes, Hosseini has done it again.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“The novel is beautifully written with descriptive details that will haunt you long after you finish reading it.”—Dallas Morning News
“This [novel] tells the startling story of domestic adversaries who discover that survival in a horrific world is nearly impossible without compassion, love and solidarity. . . Hosseini’s prose . . . can stun a reader with its powerful, haunting images.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Absolutely compelling on every level. It’s nearly impossible for a novel—a work of fantasy and fabrication—to deliver a formidable blow, a pounding of the senses, a reeling so staggering that we are convinced the characters and their dilemmas are genuine. Such a persuasion is particularly difficult when the setting is Afghanistan, a country and culture many see as too strange for recognition, for empathy. But that’s what Khaled Hosseini does again and again with A Thousand Splendid Suns.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Hosseini has the storytelling gift . . . [A Thousand Splendid Suns] offers us the sweep of historic upheavals narrated with the intimacy of family and village life. . . . What keeps this novel vivid and compelling are Hosseini’s eye for the textures of daily life and his ability to portray a full range of human emotions, from the smoldering rage of an abused wife to the early flutters of maternal love when a woman discovers she is carrying a baby. . . . Hosseini’s illuminating book [is] a worthy sequel to The Kite Runner.”—Los Angeles Times
“Many of us learned much from The Kite Runner. There is much more to be learned from A Thousand Splendid Suns . . . a brave, honorable, big-hearted book”—The Washington Post Book World
“The author’s fans won’t be disappointed with A Thousand Splendid Suns—if anything, this book shows at even better advantage Hosseini’s storytelling gifts.”—New York Daily News
“Hosseini has created two enormously winning female characters in Mariam and Laila, Afghan women born into very different circumstances but who have the same problems.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“[Hosseini] is a writer of unique sensitivities. . . . Hosseini embraces an old-fashioned storytelling unconcerned with literary hipness, unafraid of sentimentality, unworried about the sort of Dickensian coincidences that most contemporary American writers consider off-limits. . . . We are lucky . . . to have a writer of Hosseini’s storytelling ambitions interpreting his culture and history for us with another large-hearted novel. . . . Despite the unjust cruelties of our world, the heroines of A Thousand Splendid Suns do endure, both on the page and in our imagination.”—Miami Herald
About the Author
- Lexile measure : 830L
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 159448385X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0739489505
- Dimensions : 5.15 x 0.85 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (November 25, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Although they come from different generations, they encounter the same hardship, pain and suffering in changing Afghanistan and it’s brutal and violent history.
I do not want to write more about the story itself, as I do not want to spoil it for anyone who has not yet read it.
After breezing through some of the reviews, I started to read this book with very high expectations. This novel exceeded them and left me completely overwhelmed.
One of the best reads ever, and I do read A LOT. An eye opener. A perspective changer. It made me cry and it tied my stomach in a knot multiple times.
I read through some pages pressing one of my hands on my mouth, wishing for what was happening to end and for the characters to stop suffering.
Although this book was so hard to put down, I did it just to get up at night to hug and kiss my sleeping little daughters. I stayed awake just to keep reading.
With all the noise around flags, to kneel or not to kneel during national anthem etc. this should be an obligatory read for everyone who is privileged to live in a peaceful country.
A MUST read.
This is *not* light reading. It is extremely heart-wrenching from start to finish. (I would also say that, if you are a survivor of domestic violence, be prepared for very descriptive passages of beatings, rape, strangulation, isolation, and other horrific abuse.) From the horrors of abuse to the horrors of war, this book does not leave any dark part of the human heart unexplored. And that is why it is so difficult to read.
At the same time, it was not a book I could give up on. The character dynamics in the book are so complex that, after a while, they truly seemed like real people. The enduring power of Mariam's spirit is, all at once, beautiful, inspiring, and heartbreaking. And, even in a time of war, love and friendship ultimately survive.
This story also gives some insight to Western readers about what Afghanistan was like, pre-9/11.
I highly recommend this book and will be reading more by this author.
I applaud this author for his courage in taking what we hear about in the news, and turning it into something we can feel. Only then will people take action to help.
The tale follows two women across decades of war, love, heartbreak, faith & family:
Mariam, lives with her mother out in the middle of nowhere. Her father is a rich businessman, Jalil, but he does not live with them, seemingly ashamed by his illegitimate daughter, but still comes to see her - almost weekly. Mariam ADORES him. But then tragedy strikes and Jalil in turn forces Mariam to move to Kabul and marry an older, cruel man named Rasheed.
Laila, who is raised in Kabul but grows up in a life very different than Mariams. Her family is loving, and her father loves her very much, and is always present. She has friends and a boyfriend and a wonderful life.
Layla and Mariam lives are eventually woven together in an intimate, tragic and emotional way.
All the feels for this book! The emotions will hit you hard and it's a testament to Hosseini's incredible storytelling that to me, has no faults. A must read.
Top reviews from other countries
When I did, a week ago I was engulfed by the beauty of Khaled's writing.
Beauty is when you are not willing to believe the characters are fictional.
Beauty is when you decide with firm conviction that maybe, in some distant future your child will bear the name 'Aziza'
Beauty is when your weeping becomes second nature, when you begin to understand the great human suffering .
When you realise that you have been gifted. The mere things that we've been taking for granted, the things that we have at our disposal every single day, there are people out there for whom this may seem as a dream, maybe a dream never fulfilled.
You will realize one thing for sure -
To respect and honor Human Beings. For a great deal has been endured by humanity.
For every person we encounter has a story, wants to be understood, every person wants to be embraced, has dreams, wants to be seen.
When you realise this you will start serving, uplifting, giving instead of wanting and getting.
This book will break you.
Break your ego.
Break your desire for needs shoved through the wrath of consumerism.
It will break your heart into a million shards.
I urge you to read this unforgettable book. Let it take you down heartbreak zone. And liberate a sense of empathy, compassion and meaning that is in you, already. And that which the world so desperately needs.
This was independently recommended to me by a number of friends who are big readers. It is not the type of book I usually read as I don’t tend to read such sad books, but it was so ardently loved that I gave it a try.
I really struggled to get into it in the beginning as I initially found it slow and upsetting. A few times I considered giving up on it, not through any fault of the writer, just that I tend to read different types of books. I have a full time job which is often emotionally heavy, so I prefer to avoid human suffering/tragedy type themes when reading for pleasure or watching films.
I am so beyond glad that I continued on. This book is beyond spectacular. It is so beautifully written and the characters and story are so utterly powerful.
Be warned, this book is very emotionally challenging. I could not put it down once I was beyond the first few chapters. It is amazingly well written and flows beautifully but the subject matter is just crushingly upsetting, while at the same time, there is such beauty and love in some of the relationships. The result was lots of tears and even sobbing at the end of the book. It left me bereft, and emotionally exhausted, but just blown away by how good the book is. I don’t see how anyone could fail to be moved and bowled over after reading this.
I have been deliberately vague about the subject matter as I hate it when someone leaves a review which means you no longer need to read the book.
All I can say is read it, you won’t regret it (but will in all probability have puffy eyes for a few days after!!!!).
For me, this book is one of them.
I first read this book around ten years ago, not long after it came out, and it instantly became my favourite. I don't read it too often as I don't want the effect it has on me to lessen when I do read it. Every time I pick this book up, the initial emotions I felt when first reading it are there as intense as they ever were, and every single time I finish, I'm left with that sense of awe and compassion. Not just for the characters, but for a whole country of women, who, without this book, would never even have entered my thoughts going about my comparatively easy life, thousands of miles away in my safe, free country.
Perhaps it's because I'm a woman that I feel such a strong kinship with this book, but I really don't think that's it. I doubt anyone with a heart and sense of empathy could read this without being emotionally affected in some way.
Its inspired me to take interest in the plight of people outside my own front door. To see past the end of my nose and actually pay attention to what's happening in the world, and to give fleeting pictures of world issues on the TV more than just a cursory glance.
I like to think I understand what the author of this book set out to do, and while I doubt he'll ever read this review, I'd like him to know that in this reader, he's done his job.
Thank you for a beautiful book Khaled.
But when i finished this book and kept it aside, a feeling of relaxation and peacefulness washed over me. War and Civil Wars, as we read and hear from media, sounds and feels very dreadful. But to live through and survive/suffer that is something one would never want to go through. You will live through those through the eyes of Mariam and Laila while reading this book.
A humble and heartfelt ovation to the beautiful book and the writer.