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)
The narrator is excellent, sounds Afghani, but I hated the book. I'll grant the author has a talent for story telling but for this one I can only assume that he made a list of all the horrible things that could happen to a female in Afghanistan and then outlined a novel to include every one of them. It feels like propoganda to me. I've read personal accounts by Afgani women where the story is what happened to them. That's honest. I've read articles about woman under the Taliban with some egegious examples. That's honest. But this novel is dishonest. It takes advantages of people's desire to read about atrocity after atrocity and it assumes that readers in English are so uninformed that they can't get information except when it's also entertainment.
This is a great story, Khaled Hosseini has a tremendous capacity to tell a story that captivates the listener. The content is disturbing, but the writing is so good as is the story that it grips you. I agree with some of the reviewers that the narrator is monotone, but to me that adds tenor to the book her narration fits the story. I am not quite finished listening, but I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like The Kite Runner
This book, by FAR, is the one of the best spoken books I have ever listened to. The reader was poignant, and true to the part. The characters rich and realistic. The times and experiences of the characters chilling and much too relevant to what has played out in our lifetime. This was a bittersweet and heart-wrenching tale of 2 lives. Everyone who "thinks" that they know "who America's enemies are" should have to read this book.
I had heard wonderful things about "The Kite Runner" . . . and didn't expect that "Splendid Suns" would live up to the beauty that readers described when recalling the Kite Runner. But this book has renewed my faith in a story well told and in the splendor of the written word to incite pathos and understanding.
I cannot say enough about how gifted Khaled Hosseini is. We live in a world where most of us are satisfyingly sheltered from the poverty, injustice, inhumane treatment and devastation that others endure. It is a toss-up which book I liked better: Kite Runner or Suns... but if you have read Kite Runner I would say that A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must-read. If you haven't read Kite Runner, do so and then move on to Suns. The narrator does a fabulous job speaking in both languages and drawing you into the Afghanistan world. I love books that stimulate me, educate me and move me. I await Mr. Hosseini's next novel anxiously.
Thank you for another view of the conflict in Afganistan. It was riviting. I'll be looking for another to continue to expand my understanding of the conflict.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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