A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a very true to life story about two women and their struggle, set in the backdrop of the unstable situation of Afghanistan. The book is narrated separately by the 2 main characters, Mariam and Laila, who represent most women and their lives in Afghanistan.


Mr. Khaled Hosseini is a great novelist, known for his previous venture, The Kite Runner, which was a best seller and was sold in 34 nations. After the first book, ardent fans waited impatiently for his next novel .The well known Afghan writer; now based in The US, is the Goodwill envoy at the United Nations Refugee Agency.


The novel starts with the story of Mariam, who gets married at the age of 15 to a man aged 40, and parallel runs the story of Laila, who then is just born, and how 15 years later, they find each other; the strength and power they provide to each other, to get away from the male egoist society of Afghanistan.


Unlike The Kite Runner, which again was based in Afghanistan, about the journey of 2 men, this story holds high the banner of womens’ orientation.


The lead character, Mariam, is treated well in terms of description and reality. Her story is filled with emotion and shows her as a much suppressed personality. Laila, I believe, is the most exciting character in the book is crafted to perfection. While reading the book, one truly feels for her. One feels her pain, her love, her ambition and every thought that runs across her mind. It has been described so beautifully, that readers can find a part of themselves in her . Rashid, the typical male chauvinist, is portrayed very well, and Khalid Hosseini deserves his due appreciation for it.


The book deals with social, cultural, political and sexist issues which anyone can relate to. It does contain very disturbing elements, so I suggest that anyone who is going through depression must avoid this book.


This book gives us a very deep insight of the status of women in the Afghan society, and how they face daily grievances and live with it throughout their lives. Yet, this book brings forth some people who provide support to women and give them an equal status in the society. We sure can see how, even during turbulent times, some women were given educational freedom were encouraged to become leaders, doctors etc.


The only thing that may make you fall asleep is the unwanted details of Afghan wars and history. Yes, I agree that it does hold great importance, but there are a lot of unnecessary facts that do not add to the story and holds it back at instances.


The book is a fantastic must read and contains great topics that can be put forth for debates and further discussion.


Anindita Kannan



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