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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 (5868 )
5 star
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4.5 (1992 )
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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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    "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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    Story
    "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.

    11 of 13 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
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    12 of 15 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.

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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
Sort by:
  • Jackie
    Romford, Essex, United Kingdom
    7/15/07
    Overall
    "A Thousand Splendid Suns"

    The book had me hooked from the beginning, its a VERY graphic account in life in Afghanistan during the occupation by the Russians and under the Talibans. At some points I dreaded listening scared of what was to follow next. If you like fairytales with everyone living happily ever after this is not for you. But for me it gave me an insight into Moslem life and an awareness of how lucky we are in the Western World.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Siobhan
    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, United Kingdom
    7/31/07
    Overall
    "Passionate story, passionless reading"

    It is sheer testament to the beauty and lyrical passion of Hosseini's writing that the story still lives and breathes beyond the unemotional (whilst perfectly pronounced), characterless reading by Atossa Leoni.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mirium
    SAFFRON WALDEN, Essex, United Kingdom
    2/6/08
    Overall
    "Recommended - but not much fun"

    I don't think that 'enjoyment' is quite the right word to describe how I felt while listening to this. If I had been reading, I would have said that it was a real page-turner, as I was gripped by the narrative, and all the time wanted to find out what was going to happen next to Mariam and Laila. I kept waiting and hoping for something nice to happen - but it never did.
    It was a good insight into the politics of Afghanistan, without feeling like a history lesson. The writing was vivid, and brought to life both urban and rural landscapes.
    I felt very sad at the end, as while there is a suggestion of hope, we now know what has happened in Afghanistan since. Just supposing Laila was a real character rather than fictional, I wouldn't rate her chances very highly.
    It was beautifully read.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Macclesfield, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    9/6/07
    Overall
    "The best novelist of our generation?"

    Simply a stunning book that engrosses from start to finish. If you liked the Kite Runner, you will love this. Khalid Hosseini is quickly becoming the best novelist of his generation

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Tracey
    5/20/08
    Overall
    "A Thousand splendid suns"

    This book is wonderful but if you want a nice book then don't read this one, good job I was listening and not reading as I wouldn't have been able to see the pages from the tears. The two women in this book have a terrible life and you are captivated by their strength. A wonderful story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    3/27/08
    Overall
    "A compelling listen"

    This fascinating book gives a detailed insight into the lives of Moslem women in Afghanistan during a turbulent time. The attitude of their men towards them is almost unbelievable to Western women. We can be grateful that our life is unlike theirs (in normal circumstances) as it could possibly be. The bravery of the two main characters, knowing the possible punishments for their bid for freedom, takes ones breath away and life has to go on hold while you wait to hear how the story unfolds. A great listen.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    St Agnes, United Kingdom
    8/9/11
    Overall
    "Emotional & wonderful"

    This is simply the best book I have read/listened too in a very long time. The characters were beautiful & I really found myself caring about them deeply. I didn't think the Kite Runner could be beaten but this story was so gripping I found myself thinking about it all the time. I think everyone should read this beautiful book as it gives such insight into ordinary women, the true heroines of this awful time. This book gives Afganistan a human face rather than the picture built up by war & the Taliban.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Gerd
    London, United Kingdom
    4/18/11
    Overall
    "Splendid"

    What a fantastic book! Gives you a real insight into what it is (or was) like growing up as a woman in Afghanistan, especially under the Taliban regime and the utter disregard for women's human rights there. All the serious stuff aside, the book is full of sights and smell and texures and has really made me want to go there and see the place for myself. It has pointed out to me that beyond the war and suppression it is a country full of history and beauty that is deserving of attention in its own right. With regards to the narration, it is (suitably so) read by a woman who obviously has the right cultural background, as every local name or Farsi/Pashtun word is pronounced like a local, making the whole experience more believable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • beverley spencer
    6/16/10
    Overall
    "great"

    what a fab book and beautifully read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vicky
    Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, United Kingdom
    4/21/10
    Overall
    "A beautifully written tragic story with hope"

    I absolutely loved listening to this book. It was so well written that I was in the book living the lives of those two heroic women. I was totally absorbed and had to sit in the car at the end of my journey so that I could carry on listening. It has also taught me about Afganistan and the issues that they have had to contend with. Well worth a listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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