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.
"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)
I read the Kite Runner and was blown away by the insight into Afghanistan culture and the day to day lives of people on the other side of the world. Really, their lives aren't so different from ours, they have the same dreams and hopes as we do, and they fear and abhor war and tyranny just as we do. This second novel extends that insight by showing us Afghanistan from two women's perspectives as their lives intertwine with the people and world around them, and as they survive regime after regime of terror, in their own home and in their country. The narrator was terrible though, her voice was monotone, and her story telling seemed forced at best. That's really my only complaint.
The subject matter is disturbing as is any about the oppression of humans. I found it hard to understand the abrupt end in one woman's story until reading further about their interconnected lives. This author writes beautifully. The reader was excellent also. In audio books, the reader is almost as important as the author.
Although I enjoyed the book, it is less engaging than the author's first novel, The Kite Runner. One plot weakness of A Thousand is that the part describing the bonding between the two main characters, Mariam and Leila, doesn't seem very convincing, making the rest of story development a bit artificial.
Everything from the narrator's captivating pronounciation (I never knew how to pronounce Afganistan!) to the blossoming of the characters as their world disintegrates around them. There were indeed times I had to stop listening as my spouse came home because I was so angry at the character's situation that I was unreasonable with my own, very innocent husband.
I did have to leave off for a week or so during the darkest part of the novel. I was a little disheartened and needed a break from the soul-crushing plot, but that is the sign of an engaging story, all the same.
This is the best book I have ever read. It should be required reading for every American. I wake up everyday grateful that I, a woman was born in this wonderful country. The story is a touching tale of two afghani women and all that they endure during the rein of the Taliban. A Must read for man or woman. God Bless the USA.
I know the Kite Runner is his better known book, but A Thousand Splendid Suns has stayed with me and I found it most intriguing. Two women come together in an unexpected and sometimes horrible way, struggle to build a relationship in a crazy situation and ultimately create an unusual bond. It reads more like a documentary than a piece of fiction. I highly recommend it - it will make you think about how good your life is.
Simplistic, repetitive, unimaginative writing + Slow developing plot = Me getting exactly halfway through this before abandoning it.
It's a shame because I'm extremely interested in both the culture and the time period. There were some decent parts in the book, but I just couldn't make it. Depressing, no suspense, nothing to look forward to.
I found this a hard book to finish - mostly because the events described are plausible. It is extremely unsettling to think that such horrible things could happen in this day and age, but they do. The hatred and level of violence described are not for the faint of heart. I only finished listening to this book because I had hope that there may be a satisfactory (ie - less than heartbreaking) ending. If you're squeamish or uncomfortable with violence against women, skip it.
On the "audio" side, I wasn't terribly impressed with the rhythms of the narrator. However, it's likely that I would have abandoned the book completely had I been reading, rather than listening, as the narrator was able to guide me through the pronounciation of names and locations that are completely foreign to me.
Yes, the story is interesting. This is my second purchase of audio books by this writer, but I won't be buying any more. I don't think I could take any more heartbreak. Although, that does mean he's connected with me...
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
what a fab book and beautifully read.
"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.
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