Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Date Finished: 7 April 2008
My Rating: 3 Stars
This book has been on my To-Be-Read list for awhile and I finally read it for a book group. I am really looking forward to discussing this book with the people in the group.
A Thousand Splendid Suns chronicles three decades of turmoil leading up to and after the Taliban and gives the reader a terrifying perspective on Afghan life. Mariam, an illegitimate daughter of a successful businessman, is forced as a teenager to marry an older, brutal man, Rasheed. When Mariam fails to bear children, Rasheed takes an even younger wife, Laila, whose liberal, intellectual parents were killed after the Communists took over Kabul.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought together by war, by loss and by fate. Together they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul.
I have to admit that this was a difficult book for me to read at times. It was very graphic with depictions of violence. It was not so much the depiction of violence that disturbed me as much as it was that I did not want to read about these things happening to these women. It was just hard for me to read about all the horrific abuse they were dealt. There was one incident in particular when I thought Laila's daughter was going to die and I just had to shut the book because I did not want to read that.
Most of the story takes place on one street in Kabul but I felt like I really got a sense of the bigger picture. I admit that all I know about Afghanistan and everything that has happened over there in recent history, I have learned from little snippet on the news. I found reading about the wars, the communists and the Taliban coming to power very interesting. It was all seen through the eyes of two women but through them and their stories, you really get a feel for what was happening to so many during these years of war and upheaval.
At it's heart, I think this story is really a story about relationships, especially those of mothers and daughters, and survival in even the most dismal of circumstances.