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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 (5086 )
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4.5 (1321 )
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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
    4
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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 2006
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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 2005

    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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-10-08
    Maria Carlsbad, CA, USA 11-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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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
  •  
    Philip B. Granof 07-10-07 Listener Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "Beautiful and boring"

    Great characters, wonderful dialog, brilliant descriptions, tight writing, and so little story. If you loved the moving and colorful world created by the author in the Kite Runner you'll like certain aspects of the book. But if you want a good old fashioned story that drives you on and on to stay up past your bedtime for yet another 15 minutes, this is not the book. I need a stronger story line. The prolonged misery of the characters was not enough to keep me interested.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren New York, NY, USA 12-27-07
    Lauren New York, NY, USA 12-27-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 10-02-12
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 10-02-12 Member Since 2009

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 07-07-09
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 07-07-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Julie Le Center, MN, USA 04-23-09
    Julie Le Center, MN, USA 04-23-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Heartbreaking and beautiful"

    I defy any western woman to read this book and come away without being moved by how privilaged our lives are. This book is an argument against cultural tolerance, if by cultural tolerance we mean condoning the torture and enslavement of an entire gender based upon religious beliefs. The courage and love in this tale will break your heart. It is a testament to how the human spirit can survive and even thrive in the worst of circumstances.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 01-13-09
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 01-13-09 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unpleasant Subject, Pleasant Story"

    I chose this book as a lesson in culture and wan't dissappointed. This is not main street America. Characters are wonderful. I found myself screaming at them, crying for them, loving with them.

    It was a fairy tale ending of sorts, but I still did not want it to end. Truly, this book was a treasure to find.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 21-30 of 339 results PREVIOUS123434NEXT
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  • 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
  • Countess_Dracul
    UK
    3/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An eye opening book"
    What did you like most about A Thousand Splendid Suns?

    It gave me a glimpse into the history of a country I know virtually nothing about. And a life I'm glad not to live!


    What other book might you compare A Thousand Splendid Suns to, and why?

    movies and books such as not without my daughter


    What about Atossa Leoni’s performance did you like?

    Excellent, performance with clear pronunciation of names that I know if I had been reading myself I would not have had a clue how to pronounce.


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

    When the rules the Taliban enforced were read out for the first time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jayne
    bracknell, United Kingdom
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "what we will do as humans"
    If you could sum up A Thousand Splendid Suns in three words, what would they be?

    Strong. Emotional. Touching


    What did you like best about this story?

    Two woman having a great bond over all they have faced.


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

    I liked it all. I laughed, cried and gasped during my read.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A life worth more than can be seen.


    Any additional comments?

    This author is great and should get more recognition for the work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alina
    Yorkshire, United Kingdom
    2/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bla"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Thousand Splendid Suns to be better than the print version?

    Yes most definitely, especially for people who don't get the chance t sit and read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The storyline is amazing, it's highly inspiring and totally recommend it.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I'd like t believe I enjoyed every single chapter.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kat
    croydon, United Kingdom
    12/19/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Story but......"
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I think this audible production is a great example of how a narrator can impact the effect a book has on the listener. This story is such a memorising, often harrowing tale. When I listened to The Help, another tale centered around the hardship of women, I was intrigued, I laughed, I cried as I was drawn in by the amazing performances of the narrators . This story is just as good but the slightly robotic monotone of the narrator meant that I didn’t connect with the characters in quite the same way. Please don’t be put off, it’s still a very good download but I personally feel that a story of this magnitude deserves to have a much stronger actress who can convey all the strong emotions that run through the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Carter
    England
    10/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully written, beautifully read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    5 years ago I was working in Dubai and I bought this book at Birmingham (UK) airport as I was flying back out after some time off at home. I can't remember the flight, all I remember is the story, how it grabbed me from the first page and kept me in it's grip until I finished it just before the plane landed. The differing emotions that I experienced during my journey through the story were as varied as the countries that sped by beneath me; a truly wonderful, moving and heart wrenching story that makes this book one of the best I have ever read...... I didn't think it could get any better.

    Nowadays I drive an hour to work in the mornings and another hour back home at night so I decided to give audio books a try to break up the boredom of the journey. I've listened to many over the past year but this one, which already has such a special place in my heart, was one that I really looked forward to hearing after my experience of reading it 5 years previously.

    Atossa Leoni did not disappoint, she not only read the story incredibly well, she also put her heart and soul into it and once again I was transported back to war torn Afghanistan and to the lives of the two women who the book focuses on. You lose yourself in her voice, you become one with the story and feel like your a part of it and the emotions you experience seem more raw, hurt deeper and last so much longer. I'm 52 years old, served my country for 23 of those years in the British Army and have seem some terrible things that I thought had hardened me emotionally, but this book, and the way Atossa narrates it, reduced me to tears many times.

    I didn't think it could get any better, Atossa Leoni proved me wrong.

    Thank you to Khaled Hosseini for writing such a beautiful, moving novel and to Atossa Leoni for narrating it in such a beautiful way so as to take the reader even closer to the emotions that the story evokes.

    I hope, and pray, that Audible and Atossa agree to her narrating on Hosseini's new book "And the Mountains Echoed" because I for one would very much look forward to hearing her read that.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way it's written and the the way it's narrated. Together it makes for such a wonderful experience.


    Have you listened to any of Atossa Leoni’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Unfortunately this is the only book she has narrated, apart from the abridged version that I won't listen to.


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

    I would happily do that, and probably will before the year's out.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a thank you from a very, very satisfied customer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • k
    southampton, United Kingdom
    8/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Thousand Splendid Suns to be better than the print version?

    Yes I think it gained more by hearing the names and places read by some who pronounce them properly


    What did you like best about this story?

    It wrapped around me and enveloped me


    What does Atossa Leoni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Because she rad it so beautifully with the right accent pronouncing names if mAde more alve


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

    Many


    Any additional comments?

    Completely recommend ths audio book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joe
    Kilkenny, Ireland
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Educational, dark and emotional"

    I picked up this book on a recommendation and by the half-way point I feared I was going to be disappointed. It seemed Hosseini's characters (excepting Jalil) were one-dimensional and although the story was interwoven with interesting insights into recent Afghan history, the plot itself seemed not to be going anywhere interesting. From that point on, the plot really took off though as the relationship between the two main protagonists (Laila and Mariam) developed. In the end the book turned into a real tearjerker with some surprisingly dark moments, and I thoroughly enjoyed it to the end. In my opinion it would have benefitted from an extra hundred pages in the early chapters for the author to add more layering and complexity to the characters but it was a very enjoyable read nonetheless.



    The author once said, "I would like readers to walk away with a sense of empathy for Afghans, and more specifically for Afghan women, on whom the effects of war and extremism have been devastating". This is exactly how the book affected me, so the author hit his mark in my case. The story is one of regret, sacrifice, loss, ill-treatment, war and extremism and there's not much positive to balance this gloom. There are of course some moments of joy and positive relationships along the way, but often the price paid for these is ridiculously high. Although it is only a fictional account of two women and not a statement on the lives of all Afghan women, it is nonetheless educational and revealing for those of us far removed from the culture and politics which underlie so much of this.



    All in all, really good read, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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