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)
As a fan of The Kite Runner, I hoped this one would not be a disappointment. Thank goodness it wasn't. I love this book for so many reasons. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. I hope the author is finishing a new novel at this very moment. Be sure to listen to The Kite Runners if you are one of the few to missed it. I think the narrators add an extra touch to the stories. Just perfection on every level.
This is a well written well paced book full of touching characters. You will love some and hate others, but the author will make you feel something for all of them. I felt pity, sadness, anger, frustration, joy. Not only are the characters wonderful, the writing smooth and flowing, but the historical/cultural insights are as interesting as the characters and their stories. It was a wonderful listen, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
The writing and character development is perhaps even better than in Kite Runner, and the story rings true. But it is so unrelentingly sad that despite the beautiful writing and occasional glimmers of hope and light, I couldn't force myself to endure it until the end.
Biomedical entrepreneur. Lifelong Libertarian. Yoga enthusiast.
It's difficult to describe this book's myriad dimensions. It is at the same time sad, uplifting, thought-provoking, and more. It is a love story, a political statement, a social statement, a familial statement, and more. And it's all tied together with wonderfully written prose. Worth every letter, word, phrase, sentence.
This is a story of man's' inhumanity to man. It is a difficult story to hear, but a story we need to hear to be responsible adults in the global society in which we exist. This is not for children. With the daily rhetoric, and horrifing facts of the casulities in Iraq, it is difficult to stomach our government's willingness to send our country's young people (as in the past our grandfathers raised the flag in Iwo Jima), to achieve our unitied, moralistic goal of combating evil and the persecution of peoples across the planet. Though some may view this national dedication as an ego for "world dominance", this story shows us how our efforts in remote, discounted lands have achieved great things, not only in this current conflict, but throughout our country's history... Yes, with action there are always mistakes, but this story shows our country as we are viewed by the sick, downtrodden, and poor (where did I read that?). The USA shines as a beacon to liberation, justice, and the right to pursue happiness for all.
If you were in trouble, who do you want to hear... From the French in WWII, to the Afghanies/Mujahadin/Taliban as the story relates. I think all the peoples suffering injustice in the world would want to hear the engines of Apaches and Blackhawks accompanied by the call of the US Marines.
Disagree if you want, that is what we fight for... Great book!
May God, Jehovia, or Allah remove the ignorance and intolerance that is chronicled in this book... In Afganistan, Somalia, Iraq, or the next conflict. Inshallah...
Dr. Hosseni used to be my doctor so you'll be happy to know that he is not only a fabulous writer but he is also a good guy and a wonderful doctor. I thought the Kite Runner was excellent and this one exceeded my expectations. Dr. Hosseni is probably doing more for the humanitarian cause than anyone else as far as putting faces with a culture that has been ignored except for the focus on war. I get lost in his books. I'm stuck in traffic and don't even care and in fact, want it to take even longer to get to work. I feel like I'm visiting another country. Having lived in other countries and traveled extensively, I know that there are some people that are always going to fight for power (unfortunately) but at the core of the population are good people everywhere, just trying to do life the best they can.
A deeply disturbing, emotional story, and one of the most influential and important novels I've ever read. I grew to love Mariam and Laila like they were my own family, and I experienced their story with deep sadness and affection. The story still claws at me, even after finishing, and I suspect it will continue to haunt me for some time.
I suppose if I knew nothing of the world of Islam, nothing of the atrocities committed by one tribal or religious subgroup against another, nothing of the wars of occupation in Afghanistan, then I might be more inclined to give this book a pass. But that isn't how it is, and so I found the story predictable without being enlightening. The central character's life choice that is the backbone of the story is glossed over, leaving me no wiser in the end.
Add the narrator's cadence, with a pause after every phrase, every clause and every three words, and I was pulling out my hair. I did appreciate the narrator's pronunciation of all the place names and words in a foreign language, though. That is refreshing!
The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
This novel did a phenomenal job of explaining what it was like to be a woman in Afghanistan in the years between 1960 – 2001. Told from the point of view of two Afghan women, the story of their complete subjugation to men was heartbreaking, so terrible at points that I wanted to put the book down. One of the women, Mariam, is born out of wedlock, relegating her to the sidelines of life—which is saying a lot in a culture in which women are pretty much powerless. The reader experiences with Mariam what it was like the first time she put on a burka, we mourn with her the loss of peripheral vision, we chafe against the feel of fabric pressing on her mouth. When her husband casually tells her “you’ll get used to it,” that was really the theme of her whole life. Get used to being beaten, get used to being told you are worthless, get used to being ignored, get used to bombs falling all around you, get used to hunger.
“Each snowflake was a sigh heard by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. All the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how women suffer.”
The second, younger woman, Laila, is born in happier circumstances, but the war and circumstances land her in the same house with Mariam and is subjected to the same inhuman treatment at the hands of their mutual husband.
The day the Taliban arrive in Kabul and make their decrees for women public, heralds yet more restrictions.
“Attention Women: You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home. You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. You will cover with burka when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten. Cosmetics are forbidden. Jewelry is forbidden. You will not wear charming clothes. You will not speak unless spoken to. You will not make eye contact with men. You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten. You will not paint your nails. If you do, you will lose a finger. Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately. Women are forbidden from working. If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death. Listen, listen well, obey. Allahu Akbar.”
But despite the grim circumstances in which the women find themselves, the author is able to draw the reader into their lives and show how love can flourish even in such dire circumstances. The writing is so superb, the characters so real, I was weeping at the end. A very important book and a must-read for anyone interested in the Middle East in general and Afghanistan in particular.
[I listened to the novel read by Atossa Leoni. Her performance was dispassionate, a stark contrast to the sometimes horror-filled events she was narrating, but that seemed appropriate, since the women in the book were extremely stoic in their own endurance of hardship. I did listen at 1.25 speed]
This was a great book, with a great narrator, not many books stick with me after I have finished reading them but this one did. I cried and rejoiced with the characters in this heart wrenching novel. Its a must read.
"Thought provoking, Heartbreaking"
A story, primarily of one womans life from childhood. The heartbreak and hardships she endured, the friendships formed. A story that kept me hooked and praying for a happy ending. I found the narration difficult to listen to at times, with pauses in the wrong places and at times she sounded like a computer generated voice ! However I got used to it and overall loved this story.
"excellent . Sad, thought provoking, intriguing"
I found this a compelling book and would highly recommend it. I shed a few tears in places.
Read this book some years ago and could not put it down. Changed my thinking about Western involvement in Afghanistan and gave me a thirst for knowledge about this beautiful yet broken country. Passages that haunted me when reading were equally as powerful listening to the narrator.
"One dimensional and lacking insight"
At first I thought the narration was charming. After a while I noticed that she pauses in completely wrong places like someone reading a foreign language or a child learning to read. As I progressed, the narration grated more and more and interfered with listening.
There is no country on Earth I feel more sympathy for than Afghanistan which has suffered decades of torment from cynical manipulators and international bullies. And no-one in Afghanistan deserves more sympathy than its women whose treatment is beyond endurance. This novel follows the lives of two women through the last half century.
I expected it to be fascinating. In the end it was slightly disappointing despite a promising first section. The story is well crafted. As a catalogue of abuse and suffering, and the love and humanity that endures it, it evoked my sympathy and outrage. But the characters were one dimensional, if not formulaic and, it didn't offer any real insight into the political events which wrecked their lives.
Sympathetic as I am to the horror, this is a 3 star novel held down by the narration.
If you are interested in the subject and don't mind reading about a different country, I recommend The Spider's House by Paul Bowles (nicely done on audible), about life in Morocco under French rule. It was so insightful, I felt I reached an understanding of the moslem people, their religion and their customs. Reading it permanently changed the way I think of them.
"Heartfelt moving story"
Narrator was brilliant, great story, eye opening. Definately recommend.
Hope you enjoy as much as i did, have the tissues near by x
"Made a big man cry."
You will live the lives of strong, vulnerable women true lionesses of Afghanistan. I hope they make a film of this soon.
Yes. Makes me realise how lucky we are in the Western world.
It was the realisation that no matter what I thought of the Afghan way before, my vision gave little credence to what it is actually like.
All the women named.
Made me feel very inadequate in my knowledge of Middle Eastern and Islamic ways especially having also read The Kite Runner by the same author.
A book that should be in every school and library
"Beautiful and Inspiring"
The readers voice is brilliant, she interprets the story well with her accents and tone.
I love how it teaches of real life struggles within Afgahnistan
"A wonderful story but tedious narrator"
Yes I like Khaled Hosseini but my enjoyment of the story was spoiled by the monotonous way Atossa Leoni read the story.
Tariq. A kind selfless man
Utterly tedious and really spoiled the story. Admittedly her pronunciation was excellent but her reading of English was stilted and monotonous. She sounded like a computerised voice. Meaning was lost when she failed to read sentences with the correct punctuation and intonation. Rather like somebody picking up the book for the first time without reading the chapters first. This meant that I found it very difficult to sympathise with the characters who all sounded the same.
I would not listen to another book narrated by Atossa Leoni but would happily read another book by Khaled Hosseini.
The story was beautiful and beautifully written. Touching and educative.
The childhood......it is the same all over the world.
The reader was just reading, using pauses where they didn't belong etc.
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