Friday, February 8, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

This book was urgently thrust at me by a fellow co-worker. She handed it to me with a sparkle in her eye, and said "You have to read this!" Now, it isn't often that my co-workers and I share books. My friend, Crystal, and I talk about books all the time, and we frequently stop by a bookstore whenever we hang out--though I think we have somewhat different tastes. Colleen and I hardly ever talk about books though, so I was a little astonished when she handed me A Thousand Splendid Suns. I had heard of Hosseini's other book, The Kite Runner, and that it was considered very great and that there was even a movie out based on it, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. I think it was momentarily lost amongst the piles of books that line the walls of my parents' house. So, since Colleen decided to give me Hosseini's second novel with such urgency, I decided to oblige her and read three days. It is that good.

The story is through two points of view, telling the story of two Afghani women living in the city of Kabul. It tells of all the tragedy, joy, shame, and hope that pervade their lives. You know, you hear in the news all the time the restrictions that are placed on Muslim women in these Asian countries, but I never really took the time to understand their cultural norms. Luckily, Hosseini weaves them seamlessly throughout his story, introducing us to this culture that is all at once beautiful and dangerous. The story is breathtaking and beautifully told, and I'm not too ashamed to say that it made me absolutely sob at one point, crying in my room for these friends that I had only first met two days before. But you'll have to figure out what point that was by yourself. Read it yourself, and I'm sure you'll find your own tender points where you can cry, scream, or simply stare at the pages in utter disbelief.

I found the Kite Runner in the living room "pile." I think I'll start it tomorrow.

1 comment:

Maw Books said...

Found your blog in a google search about this great book. I'll come back for more!

I highly enjoyed this book (well, as highly as reading about two oppressed women in a war torn country). I knew it was a bestseller and was curious as to why. After my mom and sister read it and raved about it, I knew that I had to give it a try. I'm glad I did. A must read for everybody!