A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini: A Review

Posted 3 July, 2007 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 20 Comments


Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Date Finished: July 3, 2007
Pages: 370
Rating: 5/5

YES! I have been waiting for this book, and finally, after waiting ever so patiently, here it is. (Mailyn, I was not a pretty crier last night…very very ugly).

Hosseini, in this follow up to The Kite Runner, delivers a beautiful story about two women in Afghanistan. The first part of the novel follows the story of Mariam, and illegitimate child of a wealthy Herat man. The second part of the story tells of Laila in Kabul, an educated girl with liberal parents. While these two sections of the novel are good, it is the third section where Hosseini begins to weave his heartrenching story as the lives of these two women intersect in a most unlikely way.

A few times a year I will read a story that is so rapturing, that tugs on my heartstrings so violently, that shakes the core of everything that I know to be true; A Thousand Splendid Suns did all of this for me. While this is not the best written book I’ve read this year, it is the one that has affected me the most. I read a few reviews that mentioned that the story spans too long of time (about 30 years in 370 pages), but I wouldn’t have wanted anything different. My feeling is that what is left out of a book speaks as powerfully sometimes as what is put into the book.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to everyone. In fact, I’m taking it to my Dad’s this afternoon so that he can read it and pass it on. Hosseini knows how to write a powerful story, and I am confident that he will do so again and again. There is so much that I still want to say about this book, but just go–now–to the bookstore/library and read it for yourself.

On another note, I would also like to recommend another book: The Storyteller’s Daughter by Saira Shah (a memoir). Shah is a British journalist of Afghan descent; when she is in her late teens/early twenties, she decides to visit the country that her father spoke so lovingly of when she was a child–a country that no longer exists. While she is there, she also filmed the documentary Beneath the Veil (I believe this is a BBC production), which I would also recommend if you can get your hands on it. There are a lot of similarities in these two books, especially in some of the stories that are told. But I think that this goes to show that Hosseini is writing a fiction that is very much a reality. My tears are not for some fictional women who have touched me, but for real women who have sacrificed so much.

20 Responses to “A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini: A Review”

  1. Wow, yours is definitely the most enthusiastic blogger review I’ve read for this book. Now I want to read it even more!

  2. I am excited to read this book, it sounds like a great book that touches the reader much the same way as The Kite Runner. It has been sitting on my bookshelf for about a month however I am waiting for the right time to read it. I am hoping in the next couple of months I can focus on it.

  3. I do want to read this…I haven’t read The Kite Runner though. One of these days!

    I read Storyteller’s Daughter last year. Amazing book!

  4. cj

    Trish –

    This is another of those books I keep seeing everywhere! Now, thanks to your review, I’ll have to add it to my list.

    Which, btw, is a good thing.

  5. *Lesley – Hmm, enthusiastic? I guess maybe because I had been waiting for a book this compelling for quite some time.

    * Pamela – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed; I thought it was better than The Kite Runner

    * Wendy – Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.

    * MyUtopia – Both are great books; hope you can get to them soon!

    * Stephanie – I’m glad you liked The Storyteller’s Daughter. We had to teach it for freshman comp a few years ago, but I’m still promoting it. Hope you like Hosseini’s books also! A lot of similarities between his new one and Shah’s book.

    *Mailyn – Half American, half Canuck, but I was in the US this year. Hubby and I played with fireworks!! :)

    *CJ – I hope you like this one. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have hyped it up so much, but I haven’t heard of anyone not liking it so far…

  6. Yes, I’m going to have to put this book on hold at the library immediately. Then, maybe I’ll get it by the end of the year.

  7. Sherry – Yes, I think this one has taken off a lot quicker than The Kite Runner. I had to splurge and get the hard copy. Hope you enjoy once you do get your hands on it.

  8. Joy

    I’m really looking forward to A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. I loved A KITE RUNNER. So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  9. Alison

    My husband and I are at complete odds over this book. He wasn’t crazy about it, while I feel it was even better than Kite Runner.

    I don’t remember being pulled into the story as much with Kite Runner. At one point, while reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I was out picking up dinner at a restaurant run by a family of Muslims, when I had a momentary pang of fear – thinking I should not be out without my husband or a burka!

    I’m wondering if THAT is the reason my husband and I don’t agree. Being a woman, it was much easier for me to get pulled into their lives and feel a part of it. Perhaps that is why I have seen so many men pan it?

    All in all, it’s definitely a book I will keep for my girls to read when they are older. Just another reminder of how good our lives are.

  10. * Joy – I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the book; hope you like it!

    * Alison – How interesting! Looking back, I don’t think I’ve seen any male reviews of the book. I passed it onto my dad a few days ago, so it will be interesting what he says. I had the same feeling about the book, though–I felt so incredibly lucky to have the freedoms that I do. Thanks for visiting.

  11. I haven’t even read The Kite Runner yet, but it is coming soon. I have heard so much about A Thousand Suns that I am really looking forward to reading it, but will probably wait until it’s out in paperback. If I can wait that long.

  12. I haven’t seen a bad review of this book yet. My wife and I will be getting to it eventually, we both really enjoyed The Kite Runner. I don’t know that it will make me cry, but I’m interested to find out!

  13. Framed – I couldn’t wait until paperback…even though my wallet probably would have appreciated it! Hope you enjoy

    Matt – Well, I don’t know too many men who cry over books, but I hope you like it nonetheless!

  14. * Lisa – I’m very interested! I popped by a few days after your email, but there was nothing up yet. I’ve been out of town for a week, though. I’ll pop by when things get caught up here. :)

  15. Trish, Thank you for your wonderful review of this book which I chose to read for the Saturday Review of Books Challenge. I finished the book today – WOW, amazing. Here is my review.