A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Setting: Afghanistan (Kabul and Herat)
Rating: 5 Stars
A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years—from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding—that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives—the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness—are inextricable from the history playing out around them. (Source: Goodreads)
A couple of things happen when you wait 10+ years to read a book after its release; i) You somehow already know the entire plot because it has been over hyped and over reviewed, ii) Yet you still expect and hope to have your mind blown because everybody says it will blow your mind and iii) because of all the hype and high expectations, you end up being underwhelmed.
I went into this book expecting this, the usual, but the reality was far from it. Nothing had prepared me for what this book gave – a lot of anguish.
Women like us, we endure - Nana
What Nana forgot to add was women suffer, women go through pain, women are at the bottom of the human pile, women are nothing without husbands – doesn’t matter if this husband beats you to death. Also, women have no rights. A woman’s work is to birth sons (daughters, not so much), be seen - half seen if you count the burqas- and definitely not heard.
And that got me PISSED!!!!
This book tells the story of Mariam and Laila – two women in Afghanistan who have endured so much and each suffered their own well-sized portions of loss and cruelty, brought together in the most tragic of circumstances. And whist theirs is not an easy friendship to begin with - they do find ways to be kind to each other and they end up forming a friendship so deep and so selfless; making sacrifices for each other in unimaginable ways and trying to get by, to see another day and endure some more.
Khaled has a way of getting into your soul. I found myself angry at everyone in the book, willing them to act. Willing them to stop being victims and fight back. Hoping for a happy ending. Praying that Mariam would catch a break, for once in her life! It didn’t happen. She didn’t catch that break and I was upset.
Albeit late, I must say this book is a masterpiece. An annoying one but a masterpiece still.
I would love to hear your thoughts if you have read this or are planning on reading it.