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 not a book to read if you want an uplifting, feel-good, happily-ever-after story. But it's a gripping, heart-wrenching account of real life that is hard to put down and even harder to forget. While "Kite Runner" tells of the friendship of two boys growing up in Afghanistan and the lives they are led to, this book tells about the lives of women in the midst of that country's turmoil in contemporary times. You get an overwhelming look "behind the scenes" at a society where custom and belief allow male domination and vicious oppression of wives (yes, plural). You see the devastation of war as families are torn apart or destroyed; the role of the US intervention in the post 9/11 era, and the struggle between political factions and war lords. And you see the actions of a disturbed man dominating and punishing his wives with deep cruelty - hard to comprehend that someone could be so evil in a marriage relationship. But you also see the warmth and love that come as two desperate women join together to provide support and defense. In the end, there is hope after all. Only the depressing themes keep this off my "all time favorite" list. What a writer - what will he come up with next!
It's not a good thing when you're driving along in your car crying, yelling, cheering and experiencing all kinds of powerful emotions!
But..that's the reaction I had to this masterpiece about 2 amazing women who begin as enemies and end as soul mates because of all they had to live through.
We have NO idea how lucky we are, living in the freedom called America, until we read about the lives of those who suffer in third world countries. It's hard to even imagine that there are still people who believe and behave as Rashid did...and yet...we know there are.
And, while this doesn't purport to be a true story..it might as well be because it is so believable that you picture everything as if it was in front of you. It is magnificently written and, the reader is equally as wonderful.
I loved Kite Runner and I equally loved a Thousand Splendid Suns. I could not stop listening and I anxiously await his next novel.
This book did not disapppoint! If you liked Mr. Hosseini's first book, The Kite Runner, then you will LOVE this book! This book is a beautiful story and I was hooked from the opening chapter. Atossa Leoni does a magnificent job reading this wonderful book as I felt like I was "in" the story. I HIGHLY recommend this book...a must for your summer reading list!
For a man from beautiful mountains near beautiful Sydney Australia, this book is so far removed from my experience that I thought this fact alone would serve as a barrier to my enjoyment of this book. Blessed am I to live where I live and have the history I have.
But such is the power of this author and narrator, to pick me up, swirl me, and drop me into this sprawling, gorgeous epic. This book, narrated beautifully, took me from laughter, to tears, to sick in the stomach. The characters are so alive, so pressed into reality, that it felt like I was there beside them.
Never has an audiobook had me inventing reasons to drive, just so I could continue listening to it. Part romance, part history and part epic, I can not recommend this highly enough. I now cannot wait to buy and listen to The Kite Runner.
This is truly a magnificent book. Having read the Kite Runner, I was expecting the book to be good, and I was not disappointed. The main character in Kite Runner was not an exemplary character although his character takes a turn for the better in the latter part of the book. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the characters are true throughout. This was a book that I could not put down, once I had started. I would not recommend that this book be read in the abridged format. Reading the abridged version of this book would cause the reader to lose too much.
This is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching book. At its core, this book is about love, resistance, and resilience. However, the story is filled with such random violence and subjugation, both of the Afghani people at the hands of the Soviets, Jihadists, and Taliban, and of the two women through whom the story is told, that it made my heart ache. I am at a loss to describe just how powerful this story is.
... so I can go back and re-live it. Just don't listen while you're trying to drive. It made me cry. Excellent historical reference, character definition, and narration. An outstanding audio book.
Audible Member Since 2003
Make no mistake, Khaled Hosseini is a very talented author, as his tremendous success with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spledid Suns will attest.
For me, I enjoyed The Kite Runner a little bit more. This is strictly a personal opinion based on the extreme amount of suffering and pathos in this, Hosseini's second novel.
Even writing the review is difficult for me, as I don't wish to criticize the writer's talent. It isn't that at all. Rather, the subject matter of extreme abuse of women is in itself difficult to digest, and I could not find any pleasure whatsoever in this story.
Very well written, to be sure. Emotionally provocative, without a doubt. The story will resurrect many memories of the news stories we all saw regarding the Taliban after 9-11. Only this is a lot more personal, as the reader gets to intimately identify with the oppressed.
While the Kite Runner was about fathers and sons, this book focuses mainly on women and their relationships, while also giving the listener a glimpse of daily life in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban. Once I started listening, I couldn't stop. It is very emotional, but gripping and exciting, too. Don't miss this deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith....and love.
This is a deeply moving story. It is beautifully written and the narrator carries you into the heart of war-torn Afghanistan and the characters are clearly in front of you as you listen. The fate of the two women seems out of their control as they are bound by the laws of the Muslim world, but we learn that they are masters of their destiny when they make difficult decisions in the most important matters of their lives. I cannot imagine being as courageous as they. This author presents us such valuable lessons about what is real and enduring in human nature even in the face of violence, chaos, rejection, misery and deprivation.
"Educational, dark and emotional"
I picked up this book on a recommendation and by the half-way point I feared I was going to be disappointed. It seemed Hosseini's characters (excepting Jalil) were one-dimensional and although the story was interwoven with interesting insights into recent Afghan history, the plot itself seemed not to be going anywhere interesting. From that point on, the plot really took off though as the relationship between the two main protagonists (Laila and Mariam) developed. In the end the book turned into a real tearjerker with some surprisingly dark moments, and I thoroughly enjoyed it to the end. In my opinion it would have benefitted from an extra hundred pages in the early chapters for the author to add more layering and complexity to the characters but it was a very enjoyable read nonetheless.
The author once said, "I would like readers to walk away with a sense of empathy for Afghans, and more specifically for Afghan women, on whom the effects of war and extremism have been devastating". This is exactly how the book affected me, so the author hit his mark in my case. The story is one of regret, sacrifice, loss, ill-treatment, war and extremism and there's not much positive to balance this gloom. There are of course some moments of joy and positive relationships along the way, but often the price paid for these is ridiculously high. Although it is only a fictional account of two women and not a statement on the lives of all Afghan women, it is nonetheless educational and revealing for those of us far removed from the culture and politics which underlie so much of this.
All in all, really good read, highly recommended.
"A Thousand Splendid Suns"
I have been a member of Audible since its inception and have never written a review but after listening to this book I believe it is the most amazing book I have ever read. I think about it still - the most wonderful author brilliantly narrated and if a film is made I would guarantee it would be in line for oscars, etc.
"A must have in your library"
I enjoyed this book tremendously and have listened to it twice now. Set in its historical context, the awful events in the story were a powerful way of highlighting the heroism of ordinary women living their everyday lives in Afghanistan. The reader’s voice was appropriate for the story and very easy to listen to. An epic and interesting book that gave me an insight into the conflicts in Afghanistan that still feed into the troubles today. I would recommend highly recommend it.
"Everybody should read this book"
This is a stunning book. Like 'The Kite Runner' before, it paints a picture of Afghanistan - good and bad sides - that we could all do with reading. Compelling narrative and characters. Extremely well narrated.
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