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A Thousand Splendid Suns

Hosseini, Khaled

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
After 103 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and with four million copies of The Kite Runner shipped, Khaled Hosseini returns with a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms his place as one of the most important literary writers today. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul--they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2007
ISBN: 9781594489501
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 372 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Nov 09, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Better than Kite Runner for the fluidity of the writing and realism of the tone. Strong condemnation of the treatment of women in fundamentalist Afghanistan.

Jul 21, 2014
  • JoannaWright rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

As important as the Handmaid's Tale, and for all the same reasons. Wonderfully engaging and educating storytelling.

Jul 15, 2014
  • pam2014 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hosseini is a writer. The imagery and plot are fantastic. The ending is a bit much. over all a great read.

Jul 14, 2014

A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "A moving, heartbreaking book about life in Afghanistan. Hard to read- but almost impossible to put down. The story is the life of two woman - Lilac and Mariam - their hardships and sorrows living with a brutal man in a war torn country."

Jul 11, 2014
  • laratis rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I love Mr. Hosseini's books.... his style of writing reminds me of Rohinton Mistry (hope I spelled his name correctly).
If you like Khaled Hossenini's novels you will love Rohinton Mistrys as well.
It has been a few years since I have read this story and being that memory is poor I can not remember details.
What I do remember is that I love this book. Mr. Hosseini is a great author!

Jul 08, 2014
  • 4everMe rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It is simply unfathomable how gorgeous and priceless this novel is. The words are so beautifully written, they will surely urge the tears out of you and will make your heart swell over in pain and helplessness. This happened so many times to be throughout my progression throughout this book. The love story between Tariq and Laila is one of the most tragic and heartbreaking I have ever read. I can continue on and on about how remarkable this work of Khaled Hosseini is, but I shall stop here. Recommended to fans of sad novels, love stories, tragedies, inspirational literature, and heartbreakers. Only for people over the age of 13 because it does include a lot of intimacy and adult content and violence.

Apr 30, 2014
  • shelley_deanne rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

On my top ten books of all time. Moving and beautiful.

Mar 04, 2014
  • sandrajimenez79 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I had the opportunity to read this book before "The Kite Runner". And I just couldn't put it down. I have many friends from Afghanistan that their lives seem to come out of this book. It is a wonderful story!

Nov 28, 2013
  • K_ROK rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a great book by a fantastic author. Loved this :)

Oct 28, 2013
  • gracindaisy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A breathtaking story set in Afghanistan over the past 30 years, during the Soviet takeover and through the reign of the Taliban. Two women, having survived heart-wrenching childhoods, become the two wives of an abusive husband and manage to forge an unlikely friendship. Their ability to endure devastating events is remarkable and will stay in your memory a long time. Once again, Hosseini gives the reader an intimate glimpse of life in Afghanistan; even better than his first novel.

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Mar 03, 2012
  • randallflagg rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The novel is divided into four parts. The first part focuses exclusively on Mariam, the second and fourth parts focus on Laila, and the third part switches focus between Mariam and Laila with each chapter.

Mariam lives in a kolba on the outskirts of Herat with her mother. Jalil, her father, is a wealthy man who lives in town with three wives and nine children. Because Mariam is his illegitimate daughter, she cannot live with them, but Jalil visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his movie theater. When he does not show up, she hikes into town and goes to his house. He refuses to see her, and she ends up sleeping on the porch. In the morning, Mariam returns home to find that her mother has hanged herself out of fear that her daughter has deserted her. Mariam is then taken to live in her father's house. Jalil arranges for her to be married to Rasheed, a shoemaker from Kabul who is thirty years her senior. In Kabul, Mariam becomes pregnant seven successive times, but is never able to carry a child to term, and Rasheed gradually becomes more abusive.

In the same neighborhood live a girl named Laila and a boy named Tariq, who are close friends, but careful of social boundaries. War comes to Afghanistan, and Kabul is bombarded by rocket attacks. Tariq's family decides to leave the city, and the emotional farewell between Laila and Tariq ends with them making love. Laila's family also decides to leave Kabul, but as they are packing a rocket destroys the house, kills her parents, and severely injures Laila. Laila is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam.

After recovering from her injuries, Laila discovers that she is pregnant with Tariq's child. After being told that Tariq is dead, she agrees to marry Rasheed, who is eager to have a young and attractive second wife, and hopes to have a child with her. When Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, Rasheed is displeased and suspicious, and he soon becomes abusive toward Laila. Mariam and Laila eventually become confidantes and best friends. They plan to run away from Rasheed and leave Kabul, but they are caught at the bus station. Rasheed beats them and deprives them of water for several days, almost killing Aziza.

A few years later, Laila gives birth to Zalmai, Rasheed's son. The Taliban has risen to power, and there is a drought, and living conditions in Kabul become poor. Rasheed's workshop burns down, and he is forced to take jobs for which he is ill-suited. Rasheed sends Aziza to an orphanage. Then one day, Tariq appears outside the house. He and Laila are reunited, and their passions flare anew. When Rasheed returns home from work, Zalmai tells his father about the visitor. Rasheed starts to savagely beat Laila. He nearly strangles her, but Mariam kills Rasheed with a shovel. Afterwards, Mariam confesses to killing Rasheed, in order to draw attention away from Laila and Tariq, and is executed, while Laila and Tariq leave for Pakistan with Aziza and Zalmai.

After the fall of the Taliban, Laila and Tariq return to Afghanistan. They stop in the village where Mariam was raised, and discover a package that Mariam's father left behind for her: a videotape of Pinocchio, a small pile of money and a letter. Laila reads the letter and discovers that Jalil regretted sending Mariam away. Laila and Tariq return to Kabul and fix up the orphanage, where Laila starts working as a teacher. Laila is pregnant with her third child, and if it is a girl, it is suggested she will be named Mariam.

Jul 14, 2011
  • haploU5 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Though not a huge fan of contemporary fiction, I finally succumbed after reading several rave reviews and must admit I wasn’t disappointed. Face-paced and well-written, it is easily read in a few sittings.
The story follows 2 women, Miriam and Laila, both born in Afghanistan but in different regions and hence very different worlds. Both their lives ultimately collide through the consequences of unrelenting battles, invasions and uprisings this country has undergone over the last half century.
As both women endure unimaginable suffering and degradation, the story climaxes with the rise of the Taliban and its notorious intolerance and cruelty that will make any woman reader grateful to have had the extraordinary luck of living in a free country.
What I took away from this story is that there is a culture to Afghanistan that is constantly overshadowed (or in some cases, destroyed) by its political issues. If nothing else, it compelled me to explore its history and unique culture a little further.
All in all, a good story with opportunities to learn about a place I otherwise may not have explored.

Jul 04, 2011
  • LuluY rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The story takes place during the war in Afghanistan, before and after the Taliban. A beautifully haunting story of 2 unlikely characters brought together during the war, and the sacrifices they had to make for the ones they love.

Jun 13, 2011
  • mackenzie_kilbourne rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved this book. I used this novel for an english essay and it was very easy to find strong themes and quotes.

Jan 23, 2009
  • heatherlynn rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Main Characters:

Change in Kabul from Soviet occupation to post-taliban.


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Sep 21, 2012
  • becker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated...”
― Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Jul 07, 2011
  • re_discover rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

Jul 07, 2011
  • re_discover rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always."

Jul 07, 2011
  • re_discover rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Women like us. We endure. It's all we have."


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Nov 19, 2013

Nilufar1998 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 04, 2011
  • Keep_On_Rockin rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Keep_On_Rockin thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 22, 2009
  • youareahunter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

youareahunter thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Jan 04, 2011
  • Keep_On_Rockin rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Dec 22, 2009
  • youareahunter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Violence: Violence & Mature Themes

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