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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Exceptional Story!

If you could sum up A Thousand Splendid Suns in three words, what would they be?

Gripping, beautiful, and terrifying

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The descriptions bring you to a far away place, the details make your heart jump for joy or scream in disbelief, and the characters become a part of you somehow. Wanting them to succeed and wishing them to escape the horrors and tragedies of war and worn out beliefs. This book was so far out from my normal reads, but I feel as if I made a new friend or two by reading it.

Any additional comments?

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their library or their knowledge! Beautiful and gut wrenching all at once... Not for anyone who is looking for upbeat happy times though.

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GutWrenching

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

To some friends, yes. The book gives insight into the Taliban and its parts in Afghani history through the eyes of the illegitimate daughter of her father's housekeeper, banished from his household when her stomach began to swell. I usually take a lot of convincing when a male author tells a story through female eyes. For this novel, I am grateful. It will be a long time before we begin to see the wonderful creativity of Islamic women who have survived under such misogynistic regimes as the Taliban.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mariam is my favourite. From her utter belief in the goodness of her father who visits every month, until the day a life-changing betrayal defines her incarceration. Her endurance and practical world-view provide the courage for the ultimate sacrifice. Her courage and determination are to be celebrated. To read this book is to experience rage and murderous hatred of faceless, landless men. To read this book is to feel powerless. To read this book is to feel utter joy for the opportunity of friendship. And the most gut wrenching part about the book is that women are living just like Mariam. Right now.

Have you listened to any of Atossa Leoni’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't heard her read other books.

If you could rename A Thousand Splendid Suns, what would you call it?

This is not only the best title for this book, it's the best title!

Any additional comments?

There is joy on every page. It never balances the anguish that is also on each page. If you live books as I do, you will cry and you'll laugh and you will rage, rage, rage.

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  • Roberta
  • HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States
  • 08-16-12

Absolutely wonderful!

I was so impressed with Khaled Hosseini's work from The Kite Runner, that I immediately decided to try this book - I wasn't disappointed. The characters are richly drawn and the story is told from their alternating viewpoints.

I was thinking the other day that it's surprising Mr. Hosseini can get into the female mind SO well, and that if he's married, his wife is very lucky : ) He has turned the Afghan way of life in something in which I'm familiar, instead of the mystery that it was to me before. His female leads experience the joys and heartbreaks of life and he is very good at capturing exactly what goes on in their minds and hearts.

One thing I should say is that at times the narrator says things without enough emotion - and she doesn't delineate between the charcters very much with her voice, but she did do a good job.

I just can't recommend this novel enough - you won't be disappointed.

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Emotional Journey into 30 years of Afghanistan

If you could sum up A Thousand Splendid Suns in three words, what would they be?

Adversity, Courage, Patience

Who was your favorite character and why?

Laila...
Between Laila and Marium, Laila will be my favorite character. Laila is stronger person than Marium. She loved Tariq and choose to live the unbearable life, even after she lost everything, just to give a good life to her and Tariq's child.

What does Atossa Leoni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Khalid Hosseni wrote a beautiful book. Even though he is a man, he brought the female perspective quite nicely. But Atossa read it with conviction.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

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  • Marilyn
  • Oakland, CA, United States
  • 06-05-12

Painfully Wonderful

Like Kite Runner, this book manages to be a beautiful tale even as it details the hardships and injustices suffered by the two women protagonists. This book moved me.

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  • Alison
  • essex jct, VT, United States
  • 06-03-12

Wonderful!

After having been swept up in Hosseini's "Kite Runner", I immediately purchased this novel. It was just as glorious. I really enjoyed the narrator. The story was very compelling and easy to follow. This is a must read for men and women alike...my favorite aspect of the book was the undying sisterhood forged between two of the most unlikely women.

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  • ANDRÉ
  • ORLANDO, FL, United States
  • 05-18-12

Masterpiece

At first, the book was a little bit boring. I stopped twice, thought I should read another book. Thought the author was unease with the story and I couldn't empathize with the characters. But then, comes Layla. And the story begins to run, the author just "flows", and Afghanistan becomes a land of nobody. I traced a parallel with my life, were I was when all that chaos and disgrace happened. I thanked all the blessings I had in my own life and, what a big luck I got for not living in a place like that. For not taste war and blood the way so many people tasted. Loved the book. Thought this one was better than the Kite Runner, denser, more realistic. Maybe I was a little bit harsh with its beginning.

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Almost as good as "The Kite Runner"

If you could sum up A Thousand Splendid Suns in three words, what would they be?

Hosseini creates reality

What other book might you compare A Thousand Splendid Suns to and why?

"The Kite Runner" is set in the same time and general location, and Hosseini tells the Western reader about Middle-Eastern culture, but this is an entirely different story.

What does Atossa Leoni bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The feminine voice

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  • Rachel
  • AURORA, CO, United States
  • 04-09-12

A Life-Changing Novel

A beautifully written epic about the struggles of women in Afghanistan. It was a difficult read but such an important one. At times I thought it was getting too long and involved, but it came together perfectly by the end. I fell in love with the two main characters and have thought of them often since I finished the book. Most of all, this book made me think about the world and my place in it--it made me profoundly grateful for my life, my family, and my freedoms.

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  • Casey
  • INDIANAPOLIS, IN, United States
  • 03-10-12

Excellent book

Would you consider the audio edition of A Thousand Splendid Suns to be better than the print version?

I would consider the audio version better than the print version. This is one of the first books I have done an audio version of and I highly recommend it. The Middle Eastern vocabulary was nice to hear pronounced correctly. It was also like story telling. The narrator had good inflection in her voice. I couldn't wait to get in my car to listen. The characters and their troubles were real. I was emotionally vested in this book. I would definitely like to read the Kite Runner too.

What did you like best about this story?

The way I felt attached to the characters, especially Lila.

Which scene was your favorite?

One of my favorite scenes was when Miriam, Lila, and Aziza were trying to leave Rashid but were caught at the bus station. I had such hope for them.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No