A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Well, here it is! Our first Blogger’s Book Club review, the brainchild of dedicated blogger, Lily.  And what a special book to get us started, Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.

In brief, it is the tale of two women, Mariam and Laila set against the wider background of  political turmoil in Afghanistan. Both women, from two different generations and very different backgrounds, are married to the same man whose violence against them is upheld by custom and law.  It is this very cruelty and terror, which they live with on a daily basis, which unites them in an unbreakable bond. While the author skilfully captures important historical and contemporary themes in a majestic sweep over a 30-year period, it is the everyday interaction of these two women which was the beating heart of the story for me. Of course I had some awareness of the mistreatment of Afghan women that had begun even before the Taliban came to power, but this heart-breaking story brought it all the more to life for me. In fact it is the very mundanity of their lives which had the effect of making the full horror of their mistreatment so real to me, as I reflected on the accident of our births. There but for the grace…

The intimate story of these two women and the history of their country are beautifully and eloquently woven together.  I had to read it in just a matter of days to have this review ready, but found once I started I didn’t want to put it down. While the writing style is deceptively simple, the story will haunt you for a long time after you have put it down. In conclusion, we’ve started our book club on a high note with this achingly beautiful novel which ultimately for me is about endurance, hope, grace and love.  To borrow a cliche..read it and weep.

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11 responses »

  1. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to read this book or not..but reading this review, I have decided I do now!

  2. Pingback: A Thousand Splendid Suns « Magnumlady's Blog

  3. Great review. I wrote mine BEFORE reading everyone else’s – and am now frantically going back to add things in that you all have made me realise! I’m glad you also liked it – I also couldn’t put it down. What a stunning read.

  4. Great review Marie and you are right, read it and weep and very much so re ‘There but for the grace of God, go I’ – frightening stuff.

  5. A very powerful review, Marie. I agree with you that the hardship and awful realities of the life of Afghan women is what remains, but I must say I felt that it could have been highlighted better with more nuanced characters.

  6. Hope you have a nice day with your parents visiting 🙂

    I’m with you in your comment ‘the story will haunt you for a long time after you have put it down’. I found myself thinking it over more so than normal with a book I’ve read.

    I left it very late to read and felt like I had homework to have handed in by Sunday 🙂 but reading it was no chore as I very much enjoyed it.

  7. It’s been great to read all the reviews – that has added so much to my enjoyment. Thanks to you all for commenting here too. Looking forward to our next book – Brooklyn – and reading all your reviews.

  8. I did weep, several times it is an emotional journey. The story will haunt you but at times I did struggle with the simple language particularly during the harsh, brutal beatings. Perhaps that served to stir more emotion in me. Looking forward to next month’s book!

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