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)
This book, like many I read, was very difficult emotionally in parts, but the story is absolutely worth it in the end. A book of struggle and such unfairness that has you angry in many parts of the book. I really enjoyed the kite runner, but I liked this book at least as much if not a bit more. I would give 5 stars just for the book, but I have to reduce it 1 star because I really struggled to love the narrator. I know part of it is just "me", because I typically don't care for for female narrators as much. But a lot of it is that I didn't feel a connection of the narrator AS the women. I felt her flat and detached and difficult to listen to at times. The sentence structure unnatural and having pauses in places they didn't belong. However her accent and pronunciation of non English words I found very good and added to the story. Once I got into the story and the characters enough, I found the narrator easier to listen to and tune out the things I didn't care for. A worthy book in my opinion nonetheless.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Well-deserving of its success. A Thousand Splendid Suns has a bit of a storybook quality, thrusting two Afghan women from drastically different backgrounds together in virtual imprisonment under a tyrant of a man, but it's also a rich window into daily life over several decades in a country that once had hopes of modernization, but became devastated by war and locked in the iron grip of fundamentalist Taliban rulers, under whom women were all but stripped of rights.
For Western readers who know little about Afghanistan, or growing up female in that part of the world, this novel provides a vivid tour of a reality very different from our own, one filled with oppression, despair, heartbreak, horror, and profound unfairness. Yet, Hosseini tells his tale with simple, unassuming honesty, and like the most (genuinely) inspiring writers, locates beauty, hope, and love amid the darkness. The novel's day-by-day and year-by-year sweep through the intertwined histories of his two protagonists and Afghanistan itself, is absorbing and full of story. And his sympathy for all his characters, even the villains, gives it a lasting resonance as a reflection on the capacity of all people for both goodness and harm, and a tribute to the part of the human spirit that won't surrender to those who rule by fear.
I can't compare this book to the Kite Runner, which I haven't read, but I think it stands powerfully on its own. Only the most jaded or incurious readers, I think, will be unmoved.
This book is really good to know isramic culture. Also, loved the narration by Atossa leoni. It was clear and touching.
The twists of fate, hate, violence, war and terrible and horrifying treatment of women makes this book hard to listen to. Yet, in the end, it is a tale of surviving and loving. The two women who are the center of the story are heroines. It is dramatic and gripping. But not a book to listen to while driving because tears will flow and block your vision. The only thing that kept me from giving it five stars was the deep sadness I felt while listening.
Khaled continues his great work as usual but Atossa's performance brings the story to life
I pray no Muslim cleric puts a jihad on this author. He took a big risk in portraying the culture of Islam and how these men in the Middle East operate. It is a caveman culture of male domination over women. The more I listened to this book the more I hated Rasheed and this culture. I pray that Sharia law never takes hold in America. I don't see how it could. That is what these a-holes fear, that they can't keep their power because their women become educated and westernized. Since we in America have a technoligical advantage and a history of women's rights I can't see Sharia law taking hold in America. America will not tolerate it. But the fact remains that this mentality exists in these Middle Eastern countries. And frankly, it makes me sick.
The only fault in this book is that it follows "The Kite Runner". Without the expectations I had after reading TKR I would have loved this book. I still 'love' it, but it leaves me wanting more. The story reveals a great deal more about the Afghani people and their culture. At the end of a Hosseini book I'm left loving the characters. They are so real and so Afghan. This is a great read, but beware of heightened expectations.
This is a lovely yet tragic story....so sad to realize that this sorrow still continues in our world today. The story will make you truly grateful for what you have. I would recommend this book.
This was my Audible-version of an 'NPR Driveway Moment'. Countless nights I pulled into the garage and kept the story going to the point that my partner had to come to the door to see why I hadn't come inside yet. Hosseini has done it again, with such marvelous characters and rich story, to enable us to see and feel what may be thought of as strange, far-away lands and make it feel like home. I just finished listening, in tears. It's a long story, but I never wanted it to end. Beautifully written, beautiful narration.
I read this book, because I greatly enjoyed The Kite Runner. This book is the account of the extremely sad story of two women whose lives were broken by the cultural hierarchy and political turmoil of Afghanistan. Listening to how these women move on with their lives while their small hopes are being mercilessly crushed, their bodies violated, their freedom taken away, is truly heart wrenching.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Over-rated and poorly read"
I think this book is very over-rated. It certainly makes you very, very aware, painfully aware of the horrors of life in Afghanistan, for women particularly, but so much of the novel dwells on the trivia of day to day exitance. It reads like an airport novel for much of its length.
Everything is dictated by events and chracter analysis is minimal. We do not explore the characters in any depth, but see only the events which happen to them.
The final quarter of the book is very moving however.
My wife tells me I'm wrong - so was I perhaps turned off by the flat, characterless reading of Atossa Leoni with her stange hesitancies which broke up phrases and destroyed sense. Such an amateur reading style.
"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.
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