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A Thousand Splendid Suns | [Khaled Hosseini]

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of 30 years of Afghanistan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    David Orem, UT, USA 05-28-07
    David Orem, UT, USA 05-28-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    123
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    "Somber but gripping"

    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!

    61 of 61 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suze Jackson, NJ, United States 06-01-07
    Suze Jackson, NJ, United States 06-01-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    198
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    "Completely brilliant"

    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.

    61 of 64 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Rock Hill, SC, USA 06-01-07
    Michelle Rock Hill, SC, USA 06-01-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "AWESOME!"

    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!

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Havana, FL, USA 05-29-07
    Bill Havana, FL, USA 05-29-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Magnificent"

    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.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Springwood, NSW, Australia 10-03-08
    Dave Springwood, NSW, Australia 10-03-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Splendid Indeed"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dina Tallahassee, FL, USA 06-06-07
    Dina Tallahassee, FL, USA 06-06-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria B. Mitchell Austin, TX 06-05-07
    Victoria B. Mitchell Austin, TX 06-05-07 Member Since 2007

    StickyWikit

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "I'll end up buying the hard copy..."

    ... 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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra L. Personette SF Bay Area 05-28-07
    Sandra L. Personette SF Bay Area 05-28-07 Member Since 2001

    Sandylp

    HELPFUL VOTES
    219
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    "Heartwrenching and Emotional"

    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.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 11-25-07
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 11-25-07 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Very sad and tragic"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Trasure Island, FL, United States 11-02-07
    Suzanne Trasure Island, FL, United States 11-02-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "A Tribute to the Indominable Human Spirit"

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 340 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT
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  • Jackie
    Romford, Essex, United Kingdom
    7/15/07
    Overall
    "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.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Siobhan
    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, United Kingdom
    7/31/07
    Overall
    "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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mirium
    SAFFRON WALDEN, Essex, United Kingdom
    2/6/08
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Macclesfield, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    9/6/07
    Overall
    "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

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tracey
    didcot, Oxon, United Kingdom
    5/20/08
    Overall
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    3/27/08
    Overall
    "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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    St Agnes, United Kingdom
    8/9/11
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gerd
    London, United Kingdom
    4/18/11
    Overall
    "Splendid"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Beverley
    Newcastle Emlyn, County, United Kingdom
    6/16/10
    Overall
    "great"

    what a fab book and beautifully read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Vicky
    Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, United Kingdom
    4/21/10
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 33 results PREVIOUS124NEXT

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