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 is the first time I have felt that I wanted to write a review of a book. The writing was so compelling. I'm not sure if I would have liked this book as well if I had read it myself because of all the difficult names and words, but the woman who read the book was fabulous.
This book will haunt you. While you aren't listening you will be thinking about the characters. When you are listening you will be greedy with each minute and hate when the book ends. It is just a special book, that blooms inside you as the characters come alive. Different from Hossein's first book, told through the eyes of women. I may just have to listen to it again.
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.
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