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A Thousand Splendid Suns | [Khaled Hosseini]

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 30 years of Afghanistan 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.

©2007 TKR Publications, LLC. All rights reserved; (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

"Another searing epic....[Hosseini's] tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient characters." (Publishers Weekly)
"Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini's magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow up." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (6176 )
5 star
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Story
4.5 (2280 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Roland Round Rock, TX, USA 10-27-07
    Roland Round Rock, TX, USA 10-27-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful Story"

    This book was beautifully written and gave the reader a powerful look into a world that we as Americans do not often get to view. The connection between the characters was intertwined throughout the entire story and wonderfully told. I truely enjoyed this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey Broomfield, CO, USA 10-26-07
    Stacey Broomfield, CO, USA 10-26-07 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Story and Audiobook"

    Phenomenal audio book, beautifully read by a woman with just enough accent to set the mood, but very very easy to understand. This was one case where I thought I enjoyed the audio book more than I would have the written book because she pronounced many native references correctly, whereas I would not have known how they sounded if I had read it myself.

    Also, I am sure you can read all the positive reviews on Amazon, but this story is excellent. I have never sought out this genre, where actual history (of Afghanistan) is brought to life through the eyes of fictional characters. The way two initially separate plots are woven together was very interesting. I highly recommend it to all readers. The characters in the story are very realistic and well-developed; even the antagonists have elements of humanity. The book presents Afghanistan's tomultuous recent history without politicizing it, simply presenting it.

    I enjoy many types of audiobooks from chick-lit to non-fiction, but this has been my favorite one so far.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 06-12-07
    Ella toronto,, Ontario, Canada 06-12-07 Member Since 2013

    Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Powerful and Enlightening"

    Like so many others I was so excited to listen to this one because I enjoyed The Kite Runner so much. Hosseini set the bar very high with his first book and I wondered if he would be able to meet it with this one.

    When I first started reading the book, I started having my doubts. Where The Kite Runner brought the relationship between Amir and Hassan into play much earlier, in this book the relationship between Mariam and Laila didn't happen till much later. The first half of the book dealt with background information of the two women seperately and how their lives were before they actually crossed paths. The second half of the book concentrated on their relationship together and how it grew. For me, the second half of the book was incredible!

    A Thousand Splendid Suns is a book that will leave you thinking and wondering about how so many people survive a life like this. It made me think about the devastation some woman endure. The strength, courage, faith and love that can come from a tragic life.

    Unlike some of the other reviewers, I thought the narrator was mediocre. Of course her pronunciation of the foreign words was perfect, but I just felt she wast a bit too monotone. It does not ruin the listen in anyway though. You will totally enjoy this one.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 10-02-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 10-02-12 Member Since 2015

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The more things change, the more they remain..."

    Yesterday, October 1, 2012, in Afghanistan, a women was executed, killed, murdered, call it what you will, for allegedly committing adultery. Her male partner was unpunished. In the same newscast that reported this execution, the beautiful, young, orphaned faces of a first in that country girl soccer team were shown celebrating their freedom to... to... just be girls and play soccer. Such is a taste of life and death in Afghanistan. Such is a taste of A Thousand Splendid Suns.

    The book is simply and beautifully written. If you liked the Kite Runner, you will probably appreciate this book also.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-10-08
    Maria Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-10-08
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    "Combined voices of Hosseini & Leoni AMAZING"

    A beautifully moving, descriptive, and incredibly sad story and Leoni's narration hits all the right notes. Her voice, too, sings and is touching and amazing. I cried many tears and I was left with a hunger for dishes from Afghanistan and for a hunger to know more about the country and it's people.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Schlarmann 11-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping"

    I really enjoyed this book although it tells a heartbreaking story. If you want a real life account of some of today's oppressed middle eastern women and the lives they lead, read this book! It's compelling.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danny J. Lesandrini Tucson, AZ 10-12-07
    Danny J. Lesandrini Tucson, AZ 10-12-07 Listener Since 2002
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    "Well written, but sad"

    The book is well written, and it gives you a voyeuristic view into Afghanistan, but it's so sad. I bought this book because someone said it’s not like his previous book, Kite Runner, which was also really sad to me. But it is sad. That’s why I gave it 3 stars. If you can bear the tragedy of lives destroyed by a God dishonoring culture and war mongering men, then you’ll love this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren New York, NY, USA 12-27-07
    Lauren New York, NY, USA 12-27-07
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    "Narration Takes Away From the Story"

    I couldn't get into this book at all because the narration is so unnatural. The narrator speaks in the same monotone and meter the entire time and is the same for all characters so it is very difficult to get into the story at all. I started listening to this book over 6 months ago and have since listened to 6 other books. Given the universally laudatory reviews, I have been quite disappointed that I have not been able to share such pleasure in this book.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 03-03-13
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 03-03-13 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extreme Love, Perseverance where Women are OWNED"

    Beautiful, heart breaking story of three generations of Afghan women who face incredible abuse and hardship, that western women cannot even imagine. Unlikely friendships and sacrifices by the women over the span of many years and what they do to protect the children that are born to them will keep you on the edge of your seat, listening, crying, and absolutely infuriated that such injustice exists . . . even now.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 07-07-09
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 07-07-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Great Listen, Sad History"

    I'm very glad I read this book. To see how events in Afghanistan affected people's lives, even in a fictional context, was eye opening. You'll want to listen to see what happens next, and yet because the political events are so heartless to people it breaks your heart. You almost don't want to know the next thing that will hit these people.

    This is a story of women. It jumps back and forth between two women's lives and how they learn to lean on each other to survive in war torn Afghanistan, and the sacrifices they make for each other.

    After finishing this book I am even more grateful I live where I do and not in a country torn by violence and war.

    I think I actually liked the Kite Runner a bit better, but this was definitely worth reading. The narration is also quite good. Read this one and you won't be sorry.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Carol
    6/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent . Sad, thought provoking, intriguing"

    I found this a compelling book and would highly recommend it. I shed a few tears in places.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rosie Gosden
    6/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Love"

    Read this book some years ago and could not put it down. Changed my thinking about Western involvement in Afghanistan and gave me a thirst for knowledge about this beautiful yet broken country. Passages that haunted me when reading were equally as powerful listening to the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • hfffoman
    Kent
    4/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One dimensional and lacking insight"
    Would you try another book written by Khaled Hosseini or narrated by Atossa Leoni?

    No


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    At first I thought the narration was charming. After a while I noticed that she pauses in completely wrong places like someone reading a foreign language or a child learning to read. As I progressed, the narration grated more and more and interfered with listening.


    Any additional comments?

    There is no country on Earth I feel more sympathy for than Afghanistan which has suffered decades of torment from cynical manipulators and international bullies. And no-one in Afghanistan deserves more sympathy than its women whose treatment is beyond endurance. This novel follows the lives of two women through the last half century.

    I expected it to be fascinating. In the end it was slightly disappointing despite a promising first section. The story is well crafted. As a catalogue of abuse and suffering, and the love and humanity that endures it, it evoked my sympathy and outrage. But the characters were one dimensional, if not formulaic and, it didn't offer any real insight into the political events which wrecked their lives.

    Sympathetic as I am to the horror, this is a 3 star novel held down by the narration.

    If you are interested in the subject and don't mind reading about a different country, I recommend The Spider's House by Paul Bowles (nicely done on audible), about life in Morocco under French rule. It was so insightful, I felt I reached an understanding of the moslem people, their religion and their customs. Reading it permanently changed the way I think of them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    4/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heartfelt moving story"

    Narrator was brilliant, great story, eye opening. Definately recommend.
    Hope you enjoy as much as i did, have the tissues near by x

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rashid
    1/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Made a big man cry."

    You will live the lives of strong, vulnerable women true lionesses of Afghanistan. I hope they make a film of this soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Teignmouth, United Kingdom
    12/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book"
    Would you listen to A Thousand Splendid Suns again? Why?

    Yes. Makes me realise how lucky we are in the Western world.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Thousand Splendid Suns?

    It was the realisation that no matter what I thought of the Afghan way before, my vision gave little credence to what it is actually like.


    Which character – as performed by Atossa Leoni – was your favourite?

    All the women named.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me feel very inadequate in my knowledge of Middle Eastern and Islamic ways especially having also read The Kite Runner by the same author.


    Any additional comments?

    A book that should be in every school and library

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Camilla
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful and Inspiring"
    What made the experience of listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns the most enjoyable?

    The readers voice is brilliant, she interprets the story well with her accents and tone.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love how it teaches of real life struggles within Afgahnistan


    Which character – as performed by Atossa Leoni – was your favourite?

    Mariam


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! Definitely


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K. Stokell
    Wirral UK
    5/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A wonderful story but tedious narrator"
    Would you try another book written by Khaled Hosseini or narrated by Atossa Leoni?

    Yes I like Khaled Hosseini but my enjoyment of the story was spoiled by the monotonous way Atossa Leoni read the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tariq. A kind selfless man


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Utterly tedious and really spoiled the story. Admittedly her pronunciation was excellent but her reading of English was stilted and monotonous. She sounded like a computerised voice. Meaning was lost when she failed to read sentences with the correct punctuation and intonation. Rather like somebody picking up the book for the first time without reading the chapters first. This meant that I found it very difficult to sympathise with the characters who all sounded the same.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Thousand Splendid Suns?

    None


    Any additional comments?

    I would not listen to another book narrated by Atossa Leoni but would happily read another book by Khaled Hosseini.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Giovanna
    Varberg, Sweden
    5/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touching"
    What made the experience of listening to A Thousand Splendid Suns the most enjoyable?

    The story was beautiful and beautifully written. Touching and educative.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Thousand Splendid Suns?

    The childhood......it is the same all over the world.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader was just reading, using pauses where they didn't belong etc.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    A few.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Omar
    UK
    4/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Painful listening, I forget my own pains in life!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Made me aware of events and places in the world I knew very little about.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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